Skirts | Vintage Sewing

rayon seam binding & a question

By on April 8, 2013
'easy' skirt, finally completed!

Gosh, it’ been a while since I contributed, but everyone’s doing such gorgeous things that lurking’s been awesome!  A recent contributor reminded me I hadn’t shared last fall’s tussle adventure with rayon seam binding. Hope it’s useful!

I began with lovely soft-as-butter green rayon, and used a favorite pattern, the

straight skirt. Problems began with the first scissor cut, which I didn’t realize at the time was with a pair of waaay past their sell-by-date scissors.

I’d thought this would be a quick project because it’s an easy pattern I’d done several times, but the project dragged… er, blossomed.

Eventually everything did come together, but am more proud of the inside than the outside.   Lol!

some of the rayon seam binding going on

Now to that question ~ Planning to be in the DC area 1st & 2nd weekends in May and would love to get together with any We Sew Retro folks in the area or visiting.  Am certain there’s something at the Smithsonian we might plan to see & meet there.  Please send message either here or on my blog, with any additional suggestions, and we’ll go from there. Hope we can get something organized.

Thanks for everyone’s great ‘sew & show’ posts!


Continue Reading

Sewing Machines | Vintage Sewing

7th (vintage pattern) heaven

By on December 31, 2012
pattern heaven
pattern heaven
pattern heaven

Am “vacationing” at my favorite, veddy exclusive B&B – home of dear friends K & G.  Their house is better than a museum or antique store, because there are so many collections of things I love, like vintage patterns, fabrics, and laces.  G has his man cave to go to, where all his antique trucks get worked on, so K & I are free to indulge ourselves, guilty-free.

Here’s one of her cute vintage cloths…

sewing machine embroidered cloth
sewing machine embroidered cloth

Happy New Year, all!!

Continue Reading

1920s | Capes | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

Downton derived

By on September 19, 2012 Photo Gallery
Lady Cora's Photo Gallery
Lady Cora's mum from Photo Gallery

Downton Abbey Series 3 has started in the U.K.  Everyone everywhere else will have to wait varying amounts of time before seeing it on local tellies, but hopefully we’ll begin hearing and seeing inspirations from our U.K.-based We Sew Retro colleagues before then.  (hint-hint!)

I’ve read that this season’s 1920s fashions will include marcel waves, crushed velvet and lots of beading.  I, inspired by that sweeping arm of Lady Cora’s mum as she arrives at Downton and descends from her limo, might have discovered what to do with a bit of stash fabric, below.

Velour from stash
Velour from stash

Only sticky wicket is the fabric is velour, with a lot of lengthwise stretch.  Will need to back it with something to stop gravity, and provide more warmth.  Perhaps wool & non-stretchy, iron-on interfacing?  This will require some thought, but might be sorted by the time Downton rolls across the pond January 2013.  Especially if lovely colleagues here have suggestions.  (hint-hint encore!)

Velour + Folkwear Cape?
Velour + Folkwear #264 Monte Carlo Tunic/Cape?

Meanwhile, am looking forward to reading everyone else’s thoughts and inspirations!

U.S. Preview & Trailer:
ITV Photo Gallery U.K. site

This entry on my blog has a few more links.

Continue Reading

Dresses | Vintage Sewing

vintage dress date?

By on September 8, 2012
vintage dress label


vintage dress
vintage dress

On a recent trip to Raleigh, North Carolina I visited Shabby Lane Antiques, and spent hours investigating (and purchasing!) items from buttons, to pins & bangles, to my first vintage dress.  Wonderful experience — couldn’t believe down South prices — can’t wait to get back!

Here’s my question:  What era do y’all (Southern for “you all”) think the dress is from?  1980s?

Style is slightly A-line, buttons down the front, is belted under the bust (belt was missing; chiffon substituted), has inseam pockets, and is ankle length.  Dress has a 4” hand-sewn hem; lining has 3.5” hand-sewn hem; dress is definitely RTW due to seam finishings, label, etc.

vintage dress label
vintage dress label

Many thanks in advance!

Details on me blog!

Continue Reading

1930s | Blouses | Coats | Hats

30’s Fashions

By on June 5, 2012

Discovered a thin book from Dover Publications in the library one wet weekend: Fashions of the Thirties, 476 authentic copyright-free illustrations, selected & arranged by Carol Belanger Grafton. (Still available online, also an updated version that includes a CD – such modernization!)

The tiny Publisher’s note states the images were taken from the Fashion Review Service, which I can’t find much reference to on the Internet. Seems the FRS publication was available to small clothing and department stores for use in their advertising. As the businesses were small, they didn’t have staff artists to draw the image.

Don’t know why, but paging through was very inspirational.

Hope you all enjoy this sample, too!


Continue Reading

1920s | Accessories | Downton Abbey Inspired

Quick cuffs

By on April 24, 2012
Mrs. Hughes, Downton Abbey (courtesy ITV)

A local station is showing Downton Abbey Season 1, and I’ve been glued to the screen. Remember when Mrs. Hughes goes off to the fair to meet an old flame? Her dress had a bit of lace at neck & wrists. Here’s the only photo I could locate (from ITV). It only shows neckline, but sleeve edges were the same lace.

Mrs. Hughes, Downton Abbey (courtesy ITV)
Mrs. Hughes, Downton Abbey (courtesy ITV)

The lace is probably sewn into place,  sans gathers.  These little wristlets weren’t,  and can be used with sweaters, blouses, and suit jackets, as in this example.

For my purposes wider lace was used, but narrower would work, too – don’t you think? A simple gather with narrow elastic, knotted, then lacy raw edges sewn together.  Easy peasy!

Continue Reading


A lacey question

By on March 2, 2012
Lace Napkin

WeSewRetro is the first blog I read each day, and you all have provided untold amounts of education, support, and delightfully pictured projects. Thank you all!  Now, I’d got to start sewing, and that has brought to mind a bit of a problem I need your help in overcoming.

Several years ago I was gifted with 2 identical napkins. Not much was known about them. They seem to be linen, with wide lace made for each square of fabric. The lace isn’t stitched together anywhere. (Please forgive my not knowing all the correct terms to use in describing this!)

Here’s the proverbial photo worth 1,000 words…

Lace Napkin
Lacy Napkin

I’ve 2 questions:

  1. How might I make use of even 1 of the napkins? Accessory? Front bodice? Lingerie?
  2. There appears to be embroidery (for lack of a better term) on the lace, which is 3-dimensional on both sides, with 1 side more pronounced than the other.  I’m uncertain which is the right side.

Here’s a close-up of the corner in what I think is the right side.

Lace Close-up
Lace Close-up

And what might be the wrong side, as it’s more dimensional…

Lace Reversed
Lace Reversed?


Any advice or assistance would be most appreciated!

Continue Reading