Tag Archives: vintage sewing

In My Easter Bonnet

Well, not exactly a bonnet and a little late for Easter, but I like it just the same.  I purchased the following pattern ‘Late Edwardian Early Teens Small Hats and Toques for Time Period 1909-1916’ by Lynn McMasters.   Check out her website for an outstanding collection of period hats.

March Challenge – Protection (okay, so it’s pretty, too).  I went with a hat – specifically View A as I had lovely white linen for the base and lots of vintage black soutache trim.  There’s something about the dark trim against the light brim that sold me.

Pattern:  Lynn McMasters Late Edwardian/Early Teens Small Hats & Toques

toques

Year: 1909 – 1916

Notions:  Made of white linen exterior, black linen and silk for lining, and embellished with vintage soutache braid.  Other notions include hat wire, crinoline (lots), a jewelry pin and a dyed egret feather.

Historically Accurate:  Not sure how accurate this is.  Research shows hats of this style were certainly worn, however, using the recommendation for fusible facings would not have been.  I instead opted for layers of crinoline basted together, which may have been more historically accurate, but may have detracted from the overall stiff look.

I discovered interesting history while researching this hat, especially when making the Aigrette for the embellishment.  The term aigrette (pronounced: [ɛɡrɛt]; from the French for egret, or lesser white heron) refers to the tufted crest or head-plumes of the egret, used for adorning a headdress. The word may also identify any similar ornament, in gems (thank you Wikipedia).

Extravagant feather plumes were all the rage from the late 1800s through the teens, so much so that many beautiful birds were slaughtered for the sake of beauty, and the Egret was almost driven to extinction.  It’s nice to know our ancestors knew to be outraged and the practice did eventually stop.

Hours to Complete:  Too many to calculate.  I’m sure it would have been easier if I just followed the directions and certainly faster had I used a lace panel applique rather than hand applied soutache – ah, such is art.

LynnMcMasters Hat

I enjoyed working with the soutache.  It’s like a puzzle to get it all matching from start to finish but I love the process.  I’ve worked with soutache before so if you’d like to learn my technique, click here:

 

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The Story Behind The Fabric

Carolyn wasn’t a close friend but I admired her from afar for her grace, talent, and impeccable taste.  For monthly sewing guild meetings, she would arrive with the most creative and gorgeous outfits, and have in tow a few more to show that she made for her children & grandchildren.  I secretly wished she would adopt me.

Belle-Armoire-Jan-Feb 2011

In January 2011, I purchased “Belle Armoire” magazine featuring the designs of Alabama Chanin.  After reading the article and studying the fabulous garments, I became a total Natalie Chanin fan.  It wasn’t until days later when I actually continued on to page 25 and found another article showcasing an art to wear garment by Carolyn.  I had no idea (as she was not the type to brag) she was being published.  Nor did I realize she had won several design and sewing awards as well as The American Sewing Guild Creativity Contest in 2005. Yes, she was that talented.

In 2012, Carolyn lost her battle to cancer and her family donated the contents of her studio to the sewing guild.  Special pieces in her collection were passed on to her children and grandchildren, but her patterns and fabric were donated to her sewing friends.  Being late to the meeting that day, I missed so much of the lovely fabric that was being sold, but I did obtain 3 pretty pieces of fabric that I decided I would hold to make an item, or items, that Carolyn would be proud of.

So, fast forward to my last post on the 1912 dress – I used two of her fabrics to create it, and, this is also the reason I put it away for so long.  The dress came without directions or pattern layout but I was happy to see from the pieces themselves that I had just enough of the deep red silk twill for the main dress and the small section of linen would work perfectly for the center panel.  Yippee!

I used cotton in my stash to line the bodice and silk to make the bias bands, started an embroidered collar, muddled through underarm gussets, but wait….. why is there no pattern piece for the bottom hem band(?), ARGH, now you tell me, and I don’t have any more linen!  So, what I had hoped was going to be my personal thank you to Carolyn, ended up somewhat crushing my motivation.  And, the half-finished dress moved into my UFO tote for over 3 years.

Thanks to Leimomi at Historical Sewing Monthly and her perfect January challenge “Procrastination’, I felt it was time to re-visit my dress.  My linen hem doesn’t match as much as I’d like and it’s not as creative as Carolyn would have made, but I think she would be proud of it just the same.

 

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Filed under Costumes, Pattern #4016, The 1912 Project, The Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Uncategorized

Historical Sewing Monthly 2016

January Challenge: Procrastination

Fabric: Silk for main fabric, Linen for center front and hemline, Cotton to line bodice.

Pattern: Ladies Dress from La Mode Illustree   Date:  April 7, 1912

Notions: Buttons, Grosgrain Ribbon, Cotton Crochet Collar – Still needs belt.

How Historically Accurate: Dress pattern/design is 100% accurate drafted from a vintage magazine. I’m not sure of the main fabric – it IS silk but has a twill-look weave to it. Due to time and budget constraints, I used buttons that are not necessarily accurate. The collar that is meant to be with this design is not complete (possibly the May challenge?), so I added a vintage cotton crochet collar from my stash.

Hours to Complete: Too many to calculate. This started four years ago as a project to test a pattern which had no directions or layout to go by. Fabric was purchased (so I thought) and not until the final step did I realize I needed more of the white linen fabric to finish the bottom hemline. I can’t believe how much white linen is out there and NONE matched up. Hence, with regret, this was relegated to my UFO tote. Timing wise, I would estimate 24-32 working hours.

First Worn: Not yet – this was made in the size presented in the magazine and is a bit small for me. I will probably donate this to a local theater for use in an upcoming production, or try to peel in on when I finish the proper corset for underneath.

Total Cost: Very little as fabric was purchased from an estate sale at $1 a yard.  Story in next post.

e4016 collage

 

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And It All Started With A Collar

A note of thanks to The Vintage Pattern Lending Library for the inspiration to tackle garment patterns from 1912.  To commemorate the centennial of The Titanic tragedy,  The 1912 Project was born.   This endeavor has brought together delighted sewers  from all over the world, and of every skill level willing to share their knowledge and expertise for the good of the group.  It has inspired so much creativity, I am genuinely in awe of their talents.

Ladies Dress #E4016

For my next project challenge I went with Ladies Dress Pattern #4016, released April 7, 1912.  The fun part about this particular pattern is there are no directions, only pattern pieces, and a lovely cut work collar that just drew me in.  It’s been a long time since my embroidery days, but I was thrilled to take a stab at this one.

For the collar I decided to use white ecclesiastical linen and white DMC #20/32m cotton thread.  I am SO pleased with this fabric because unlike apparel linen, it is quite stiff and tightly woven.  When you put a needle through it, it snaps like twill.  The downloaded collar pattern only prints one half of the design, which I then printed again onto tracing paper.  This made the mirror image visible on the back, so taping the two together made a detail of the full collar.  Using a FriXion pen I traced the design on my linen, attached it to my stretcher bars and set to work.

Please note:  I am not an expert regarding white work embroidery.  There is such a broad spectrum of techniques including Hedebo, Aryshire, Richelieu, and Broderie Anglaise, to name a few.  Then within these techniques, there are a variety of subcategories which varied by when and the region where it was made.  I think my version is a combination of a few – mostly Broderie Anglaise, but it is what worked for me.

To begin the scallop edge, I made a knot in my thread and stuck it in my fabric about two scallops away from where I was going to start.  With tiny running stitches in the stitching area, I ran the thread to my starting point.  Working right to left, I started my button hole stitch.  I found it easiest to hold the tail thread up and out of the way with my left thumb, making my stitch through the loop, then pulling the thread taut making a nice ‘bead’ along the edge.  Pardon the lack of a manicure – too much gardening.  I need to get my hands out of the dirt and start sewing!

To finish my threads, I ended with a back stitch then stitched forward inside the open scallop design line with a running stitch until I used up the excess thread.  This gave the scallop a bit of padding, the linen some stability, and hides any threads.  This is after all, a collar and it’s nice to have the underside look as pretty as the top (yes, Toby Barton – I fully agree).

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For the eyelets, I used a DMC #20/28m which is a bit finer than what I used around the scallop edge,  I first ran a running stitch around the circle just inside the line, and then again, running up and down the opposite of my first go around.  For the smaller holes I used an awl to push a hole in the center and began my button hole stitch working right to left, right going inside the hole, and left being the traced circle.   Giving a slight pull at the end of each stitch ensured a nice round eyelet.  For the larger eyelets I cut a cross pattern within the hole, then trimmed the flaps leaving a slight opening.  Following the same method as my smaller eyelets, working from right to left, and inside to out, naturally pulled the excess fabric edge under and encased it in the underside of the buttonhole stitch – I liked the look.

For the larger, teardrop shapes I really wanted to go with the technique that Cassandra Edson used on her collar (oh, so pretty) but since my fabric is a very tight weave, I don’t think I’ll have the eye power to make it work.  I’m probably going to use the same button hole stitch throughout – the jury is still out on that one.  For now I’m going to put my collar aside to start working on the actual dress.  I’ll have to keep you posted.

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Ladies Afternoon Wrap (aka) Is Est Quis Is Est

It is what it is!

For my first official challenge with The Vintage Pattern Lending Library, 1912 Project, I received the Ladies Afternoon Wrap #0291, originally released February 4, 1912.

Ladies Wrap Pattern #291

This is an absolutely gorgeous pattern that I may attempt to tackle with a different fabric, but for now, my version will just have to be my muslin.  I should start at the beginning….

I had on hand a red and gold (cheap) brocade that I purchased when I was working on a local production of “The King and I”.  By local, I mean no budget and I volunteer…   It’s a pretty color with an interesting design, wonderfully drapey, and the reverse side of the fabric would be fabulous for the arm detailing and belt.  I decided not to line mine and after cutting out the pieces (do not follow the cutting directions on pattern) I went to work.  The pattern is straight forward and easy to follow, but remember I said MY fabric was cheap, so every easy task was made difficult from this point on.

I made the darts in the main pieces where marked, but I opted not to cut them open in the back as my fabric was already starting to fray like crazy.  Yes, I did all the tricks you’re supposed to do to prevent this but my fabric just refused to cooperate.  I just pressed the darts to one side and it worked fine.  Next, the sleeve detailing.  Oh won’t it be pretty with the gold reverse print against the red?  But now that it’s going together, the reverse is looking really orange, so on to plan B, rip it out and go with the red fabric on red.  Still looks pretty but boy is it fraying.  I’m starting to get discouraged.

Reverse Fabric

Reverse Fabric

I stitched the back seam then stood back and admired how I matched the print (ooh and aah), is this going to work after all?  The collar went together like a dream and the drapey effect is perfect.  Cool, this IS going to work!  Now on to the edges…   I swear the edges were the bane of my existence for a week.  I probably over thought it all, but I like the inside of my garments to look as nice as the outside.  Starting at the front (big mistake) I first tried to roll a small hem by hand but didn’t like the way it was looking.  Ripped it out.  Then I made a bias strip from left-over fabric and attached it to the outside ends bringing it to the inside (think of binding a quilt edge), but it was looking too heavy. Ripped it out.  The fraying at this point has me in tears and on my first drink.  I found some gold trim in my stash and decided to attach it to the inside edge (as close as possible because I’m slowly losing my fabric and why did I start with the front?!) and brought it toward the outside to make a hem.  I thought the gold would be a nice touch…   it’s not, but it’s on.  My front panels are now 2 inches narrower than they’re supposed to be –  I’m really not liking this anymore.  I will NEVER wear this, I’m not wasting my tassels…. My new mantra ‘This is my muslin, this is my muslin’.  On to the second drink.

Wrap Front

Wrap Front

The back went much better.  I used the same gold trim but attached it to the outside edge and brought it to the inside and stitched it (like hem tape) and I was rather pleased with the results.  And, no, it’s not because of the second drink.

Wrap Back

Wrap Back

My pattern review is as follows:

Pattern Description/Sizing

Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Ladies Afternoon Wrap #0291, Size 32 inch Bust

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

It actually did…  although I had problems with my choice of fabric, any issues were my own and not the fault of the pattern.  It draped beautifully.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Once I got past the initial incorrect pattern layout, yes.  The collar section, once sewn, said to attach to neck edge but did not specify to right or wrong side.  I opted the right side because I then applied trim/edging along outside and turned the seam allowance and trim to the inside.  Is this correct?  Not so sure but it worked for my method.  Also, I felt the sleeve edge directions were a bit strange, but it worked out to be one of those details that you just follow blindly and ‘aha-light bulb’ it all works.

What did I particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

On a scale of 1-5, I would give this pattern a FIVE – I loved the drape, and depending upon belt and tassel options, it can be made to suit formal attire or dress up a pair of jeans for a night out.  It’s deceivingly versatile.

Fabric used – don’t go there…

Pattern alterations/design changes.

Although I am a larger bust than the 32′ stated in the pattern, the dart placement worked out fine for me.  Very forgivable design.  The only adjustment I made was to elongate the front and back sections by about 2 inches.

Would I recommend this to others?

Absolutely!  Especially for someone wanting a simply elegant piece to dress up an outfit, or a wonderful canvas for an ‘art to wear’ project.  I think with a bit more clarification regarding some directions, this can be a great beginner pattern.

In conclusion – Would I sew this again…. yes, but definitely with a different fabric.  Taking a cue from Tim Gunn, I WILL make it work (at a later date).  I’m actually having such a blast with all of this, missteps and all!  Thank you, Janyce and Kim.

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I Love My Princess Slip!

Now on to Part II of my Princess Slip #E0336, from The Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

Well it took a bit longer than expected but I am absolutely pleased with the results.  After reworking the front bodice to accommodate the lace insertion techniques (Thank you Martha Pullen), I was ready to work on the rest of my slip.  I needed to add a bit to the back to match the addition on the front so I added a scant 1/4 inch to each upper portion seam allowance, extending to about 1/2 inch at the waist, and left the hip measurement as is.   I basically followed the directions for sewing the back together, although after attaching front to back at the shoulder seams, I opted to put the lace trim on the sleeve BEFORE I stitched the side seams together.  This enabled me to do a very narrow french seam along the sides so the cut ends of the lace are secured inside.  I finished the neckline edge with lace and ribbon so the top can be adjusted as needed, and a few buttons up the back, Yippee…

Slip Front Bodice

Next up – the flounce.

I cut the fabric as directed and stitched a narrow hem along the bottom.  Next I cut off about 3 inches of the bottom and applied insertion lace between the two pieces.  For the pleating I actually marked the bottom and top of the strip at regular intervals and folded each pleat over and basted in place.  Then, as suggested by Theresa , I starched, and pressed, and starched some more (Thank you Theresa..  it really benefited from the extra starch).  Once I was sure it would stay where I wanted, I applied insertion lace along the upper pleated portion and then attached the whole thing to the hem of the slip – well la-de-da, it really looks like a slip now.

Slip Hem with Insertion Lace

Slip Hem with Insertion Lace

My pleating isn’t nearly as trim as the pattern illustration, but then again, I’m not nearly as trim as the pattern illustration…

 

 

 

 

 

Description

The Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Ladies Princess Slip #E0336, March 24, 1912

Sizing

Pattern was listed as 36 inch bust.  The measurements seem to be correct, although I adjusted the pattern to suit my shape.

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

Yes, in regard to the main body of the slip, the pattern is dead on.  The directions for the flounce called for 3 strips – 9 inches wide by 36 3/4.  I think to get the pictured effect of all the tiny accordion pleats, a bit more fabric could have been used.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, although I didn’t follow them for applying the insertion lace.  To sew a seam, add insertion, then rip out the seam, and then sew under the raw edges seemed a bit too time consuming.  It may be the most authentic/period correct way to go about it but I used a machine method as described in my previous post.  I would also have liked to see more thorough directions for the back closure.  Not an issue for a more advanced sewer, but it may present a problem with a novice.

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 fact that with a bit of imagination, it was so easy to modernize.

Fabric Used – White Cotton Lawn

Pattern alterations/design changes I made

I needed to adjust the pattern to accommodate my larger frame, and I added sets of tucks along the upper bust.

In conclusion, this was a fun pattern and I adore the fact that a few in our talented group went with a shorter, wearable dress version.  I would recommend this to a sewer of any skill level.  For the more advanced, it’s a great pattern to perfect some skills and for a novice, a wonderful canvas to learn with.

Next adventure – The Afternoon Tea Wrap, and hopefully, a hat for Kim.

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The Slip Pattern has arrived!

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I AM a sewing junkie.  The e-mail arrived from The Vintage Pattern Lending Library with my downloadable pattern for the 1912 Princess Slip #E0336.  Yes, I jumped around like an idiot.  Picture Steve Martin in The Jerk raving like a nut, announcing to no one in particular, ‘The new phone book is here, the new phone book is here!”….  that was me…. only with a pattern.  Get the picture?

Well, with taped pattern pieces in hand, and some lovely laundered white cotton lawn, I set to work.  Darling hubbie is in the garage working on a base for my sewing table (I think after all these years he’s tired of me hunched over the kitchen table), so it gave me the entire Saturday to really get moving.  I’m not great at this blogging thing, and I will post pictures of my progress, but if you can suggest hints to improve this along the way, I would deeply appreciate it.

First, I redrafted the pattern to apply my insertion lace utilizing tips I learned from Martha Pullen for machine application techniques.  I didn’t adjust the pattern pieces as using these techniques would yield an additional 1/2 inch in the seam allowance and another 1/2 inch with the insertion lace.  3 seams equaling 3 inches would give me more than enough room to cover my larger than 36 inch bust.  The addition to the 3 seams were also perfect to accommodate my larger than the pattern waist as well…. but we won’t go there.

The 4 front pieces were cut at 1/2 inch above the first lace placement line and I built the upper bodice from there.

New Cutting Lines Marked for Front

Front Pattern Pieces Cut

To attach insertion lace to fabric:

– Place fabric and lace right sides together (lace on top)

– Fabric extends 1/8 inch from lace

– Zigzag off the edge and over the heading of the lace.  This rolls the fabric into the lace

– Suggested Machine Settings – Length 0.5 – 1.0, Width 3.5 (almost a satin stitch)

Sewing Insertion to Fabric

Seam Edge After Application

The zigzag stitch rolls the fabric into the lace leaving a secure and clean edge.  Then I pressed the seam edge toward fabric and top stitched close to the fabric edge.

This Is What It Looks Like

And This Is Part I

After sewing the 4 main pieces together, the fit seemed a bit roomier than I had anticipated so I added a few tucks along the top.  Then I applied a row of insertion lace along this, fit a new upper band, and then another row of insertion.  I read a few sewists in the ‘1912 Project’ had issues with the side seam not running straight under the arm but with the way I’m building the bodice/front, I don’t think this is going to be an issue for me.  I’m basically patching all my pieces together, over sized, and then I’ll trim as needed.

This morning I hope DH goes back to the garage….  I’d like to work on finishing the bodice.  I even think I have enough insertion lace to complete the bottom pleated portion – woohoo!

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