A.J.A.

Rusty Corded Shell

by A.J.A. on November 6, 2012 · 6 comments

in Vintage Sewing

I finished this shell blouse a couple of weeks ago, and while it was pretty straightforward in construction, I decided to add some embellishment to the front by making a corded design. It was a major pain to turn the cord, as my fabric was really too heavy for this, but I persevered/ stubbornly continued on and ended up with this.

After turning the cord, I put the shell blouse on my dress form and played with the design by twisting the cord and pinning it. When I decided on the design I wanted, I pinned it all in place, checked it with a tape measure for general symmetry, and hand basted it to the blouse straight through the cord with silk thread. I then went carefully around the cord slip stitching the loops in place and tacking at the overlaps with matching thread.

I used Butterick 3286 in a size 32″ bust. I don’t know what is up with this pattern, but it fits me pretty well and I am a 37″ bust. I guess it’s because it’s supposed to be an “overblouse,” but even the darts are in the right place.

Although it is far from perfect, I really like it, and I plan to try again with a lighter weight fabric. If you are interested in trying this technique, check out the Coletterie tutorial here.

Happy Sewing! Abigail @ Farmhouse Garden

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My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last week, and I just whipped this little number up (I’ve always wanted to be able to say that!) to wear out on our first child free over-night out in two and a half years.

The pattern was frankensteined using a modern strapless sweetheart bodice and a skirt from a 60s dress pattern that was shortened significantly. Obviously, I wasn’t going for vintage authenticity this time, just trying to hang on to a bit of my fading youth….

It is a great fit and the fabric is really cool. I used two identical 40s (?) feed sacks I purchased at an antique mall in Maryland when I visited my mom back in March.

So, the fabric is definitely vintage, and cutting into 70 year old fabric is a bit nerve wracking. It’s always a fun learning process though. I first ironed  my clean fabric, and then carefully inspected it for stains and holes. There were several. I marked each with a bright purple disappearing ink pen, and then folded my fabric and made sure the grain was straight. I pinned the pieces to my pattern, avoiding the purple marks on the top layer as much as possible, and then I gently flipped the fabric to see where the marks were on the bottom layer before cutting. I was unable to avoid a few faint stains, but as I placed them in inconspicuous areas and was aided by the busy print of the fabric, I am glad to say they are not very noticeable.

The other fabric consideration I made was to fully underline all of the pieces using a good quality cotton muslin. As little coverage as this dress provided, I wasn’t going to take a risk with 70 year old fabric that might tear and reveal even more than I intended!

I also put spiral steel boning in the bodice, moved the zipper to the side seam, lined the bodice,  included a waist stay, and sewed the zipper and hem by hand. Of the waist stay and boning, I must say I don’t think I would have been comfortable in this dress without them. I am one of those gals who always thought I didn’t meet the requirements for holding up a strapless dress, if-ya-know-what-I-mean. Thankfully good engineering kept everything in place.

We had a great time, and I felt like a million bucks in a dress that was exactly what I wanted it to be, which is exactly why I sew.

More photos and info can be found on my blog, Farmhouse Garden.

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Did anyone else love the movie Shag? My sisters and I used to watch it over and over when we were young teens. I have always loved the music, the dancing, and the clothing, which was all represented very well (the film is set in the 60s, but was released in ’89). Don’t put it on in expecting a great plot and well written dialogue, though.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was browsing vintage sewing patterns, as I have been known to do every day for an hour, and I came across this summer top pattern that looks just like a top Melaina (Bridget Fonda) wears in the movie.

Courtesy of the Vintage Pattern Wiki
Image Vogue.com

 

Of course at first I wanted to buy the pattern- any excuse, you know? But then I got to thinking and realized I could make this without that pattern. My current vintage pattern collection is nothing to scoff at, and I knew I had to have something I could use as a foundation for this simple top. Enter Simplicity 6500, a simple, button back, darted bikini top.

Love that Vintage Pattern Wiki

 

Once I rustled up my pattern, I traced it out (I use soil separator paper for pattern tracing) leaving plenty of extra room to extend the bottom. The I estimated how much length I would need to add for the desired, midriff length and drew in the added length (about 3″). I extended the bottom darts and made the waist larger by adding fabric in at the side seams and making the waist darts smaller. Then I cut, using what little fabric I had left from this piece to make ruffles and bias tape.

 From there, it all came together without much ado, the hardest part being getting the ruffles pinned across the bodice evenly and distributed somewhat evenly. When I make the next version of this in check, I will draw guide lines before I stitch, pinning the darts shut first. And, I will remember to interface the button placket. You would think that I would remember this sort of thing by now. All in all, the wearable muslin is kinda cute though….

    

In order for this blouse to be 60s and something that I would be comfortable wearing, it has to go with appropriately high waisted shorts. These are the bottoms from the bathing suit I finished up a couple of weeks ago, and I have plans to make a few more pairs of shorts in varying lengths. What is that thing about “the best laid plans of mice and men” again?

I also need to make the neckline a little higher in front and more of a bateau shape. Still, overall I’m pleased. It wasn’t that long ago I wouldn’t have dreamed I could sew anything up without a real pattern. Heck, it wasn’t that long ago I couldn’t sew at all. Look at me now, ma! Top o’ tha worlddddddd……..

Also posted at my blog, Farmhouse Garden.

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Yesterday for Mother’s Day, my sweetie pie husband gave me the day off. He cooked all of our meals and cleaned up too, and I was free to get some good sewing time in. I made a dress for the baby in a cute little retro print synthetic knit I found thrifting for a quarter.

For the second time now, I sewed an entire garment “in the flat.” Does anyone else do this? What the heck do I mean? Well, the instructions for the pattern I used, Butterick 5976, would have you sew the side, back and shoulder seams, then attach the collar and facing, insert the zipper next, and then ease in the sleeves and hem them (those tiny little sleeves!) before hemming the dress bottom.

Here is what I did:

  1. Serged the shoulder seams together and pressed them backward
  2. Eased in the sleeve cap and serged into place
  3. Serged sleeve hem and hemmed/stitched the opening of the sleeve while flat
  4. Sewed the collar as usual. Serged bottom of facing and attached facing and collar to dress
  5. Understitched facing and instead of tacking stitched facing to shoulder it in the ditch through the top of the shoulder seam
  6. Serged both sides of back seam separately then sewed to zipper bottom position. Inserted zipper, and hand slip-stitched facing edge at top of zipper
  7. Serged side seams and sleeve seams all at once. Pressed seams toward back. Alternately (to allow for small adjustments later) you could serge front and back individually and sew
  8. Serged hem and hemmed it

I don’t know if there is any reason not to sew this way, but I have been finding many aspects of construction easier when garments are sewn in the flat- especially kids stuff. Um, and zippers! If you are machine sewing a zipper, it is way, way easier to sew it flat without all of that extra fabric in the way. And why fuss to fold and hem a tiny sleeve when you can just sew it flat? Yes, this does make a seam that ends at the armscye, but isn’t that seam hidden by the child’s arm anyway?

 I’d really be interested to know if anyone else sews this way or has tried it, or if anyone knows of reasons why it might be a bad idea.

Another neat part about this project, for me, was that it was constructed mostly on my serger, which I have used a lot for finishing, but not construction. I imagine this method of sewing flat made the serger construction easier, as there were curves to sew but not circles.

 Now that I’ve rambled on, here are some pics of my little munchkin in her new dress.

 

Courtesy of the Vintage Pattern Wiki


 

She is wearing my shoes :)

 

It is great how she is so excited to wear a dress I have made her. Sometimes she comes to me with a shirt or scarf and says, “Mommy, I made this for you!” It won’t be long before we’ll have a little sweatshop going!

Also posted at my blog, Farmhouse Garden.

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