Accessories

Hello lovely fellow sewers,

Some of you may or may not remember me but I am the year 12 student who was making the vintage Vogue lavender hemp and organic cotton day dress, with felt pillbox hat and embroidered vintage gloves for my Textiles and Design major work? Any ways, a few months ago I finally finished and handed it in for marking, which was the best feeling ever! (see photo below)

I finished with plenty of time to spare and unlike most of the girls in my class, I wasn’t working late into the night and into the next day in a rush :) I was happy with my finished product despite the many problems and frustrations that came with it- I struggled with the bound buttonholes which were a new skill that I had to learn to master pretty quickly but with a lot of help from my dedicated teachers, I managed to finish them OK. Lining the dress was also a hurdle but after many lunchtimes and afternoons spent at school in front of a sewing machine, I was able to line it with white cotton voile beautifully. The hat was surprisingly easy but (despite the pattern not requiring a stiffener) I was forced to add stiff Vilene interfacing into the side of the hat to allow it to stand up. On the side, I included a vintage lace flower which belonged to an elderly neighbour of mine who recently died, so I felt it was a lovely way to reincarnate her memory in a hat that she would have loved. Both my grandmother’s who were my main inspiration absolutely loved the dress and both said that it looked exactly the same as the many dresses they wore, so I think my job was completed successfully!

I also gained a lot of praise from many people when I told them what most of the outfit was made of (hemp/organic cotton material for the dress and eco- felt for the hat) Many were surprised how versatile the fabric was and hopefully this gave many the idea of using eco friendly fabrics in their  future projects too :)

Also, for those who helped me out with a brand name which was required for my folio, I settled on ‘Mary-Joan Vintage’, as these are the names of my grandmothers and I thought it paid decent homage to my main inspirations :) Thanks for all your help lovely sewers xx

My best friend (on the right) and I (left) about to hand in our major works

 

Another photo shoot image

Another photo shoot image

The finished product- we did a photo shoot and my good friend Rosanna modelled for me in front of my Dad's 1962 Valiant S series

the finished hat :)

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hi dolls! My name is Ines and I’m from Lisbon, Portugal. I’m a beauty and vintage fashion blogger (you can check my blog here www.madameturbante.blogspot.com )
More recently I discovered the wonderful world of sewing! Both my grandmothers were seamstresses, and I always have been interested in this kind of art, but I was very busy learning and doing other stuff. Some months ago I decided to create a brand inspired by the vintage acessories (all decades) called Madame Turbante, and so my mother in law offered me a sewing machine! At the time I didn’t knew anything about sewing! I searched on google and a whole new world opened up for me :) I’m still very new to this, but with your help and inspiration I feel that I can do so much more!

My very first sewing project were my turbans, which I’m most known for! Turbans are very easy to sew. Have you tried?
I created Madame Turbante brand and I sell it all over my country in flea markets. Its funny, because I only own one of my turban designs! :p

 

The other thing I wanted to show you is my very first attempt to sew two pillow cases from a retro fabric available at IKEA (I love IKEA, don’t you?). I loved the result! I watched a video on youtube and I was able to sew them easily!

 

Now the fun projects: Clothes! I was afraid of making clothing, I confess. I can picture some patterns in my head, but taking the measurements is kinda hard for me. Well, in a week I lost all fear and tried to make a blouse inspired by the 20′s and art deco. I drew the pattern myself based on a simple blouse I own, and made the adjustments necessary. I have to say that the most difficult part was to hand sew the buttons holes! God, what a mess! The great thing is that they are kinda hidden from the actually buttons. The fabric ripped a lot. So, it was a challenge, but I loveeee the result! Also, the buttons are vintage, I bought them in a flea market a couple of years ago and I was starting to think that I’d never get to use them.

And finally, but not least, my 40′s skirt with removable suspenders! Another challenge. I drew the pattern from a skirt I already own, sew the suspenders et voila! I didn’t have the chance to use it outside because it is freakin’ hot here in Portugal. I need the winterrrr!

I feel like such a cheater by not using actually patterns. What do you think about that? Are you used to draw your own patterns?

xxx

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Headline News booklet
I came across a charming booklet entitled Headline News via the Vintage Pattern Files website and decided I simply had to try out some of the crochet patterns there; it had to be something that I could actually wear, though, which meant the strictly practical ‘head-shawl’ featured on the right-hand side of the front cover (suitable for ‘motoring or riding your bike’) rather than the exotic ‘fascinator’ on the left, let alone the flower-covered ‘captivator’ illustrated inside!

I’d wanted something like this for some time and had actually planned to make up one of my various hat-and-integral-scarf patterns – I have one with a bunch of bright crochet flowers on that I’ve meant to try for years – but felt that this would work quite well to fulfil the double role of keeping my ears warm and stopping draughts whistling down the open V-neck of my tailored coat.

Unfortunately none of the patterns in this leaflet give any indication as to tension, so it was complete guesswork as to what thickness of wool I ought to be using and what size crochet hook. The yarn being advertised (“Lily’s No.600 Crochet and Knitting Cotton”) was evidently quite chunky as crochet cotton went, so I thought I’d try some of my vintage 4-ply wool on the grounds that this was fairly chunky as vintage yarn went, and picked a 2.5mm hook after experimenting with a 2mm hook and deciding that the resulting crochet didn’t look as ‘open’ as the fabric illustrated. All these first three patterns in the booklet are essentially a basic triangle shape gathered in different ways, and the base of the triangle seemed wide enough to drape around my shoulders adequately, so I reckoned this was probably about the right size.

When I reached the apex of the triangle, however, it became apparent that it was on the contrary very much too small! The neck-cord was supposed to be threaded in a semi-circle at a radius of 12″ from the edge of the shawl, and the entire shawl was less than twelve inches deep – something had evidently gone radically wrong.

Fortunately this was crochet and not knitting, which meant it proved possible to retro-engineer a complete six-inch additional section of shawl (with the aid of some mathematical calculation) and then slip-stitch the upper loops on to the cast-on edge in a fairly stretchy manner without the join’s showing too much…

Join just visible towards upper edge of triangle

I’ve read descriptions of young ladies conversing while ‘knotting a fringe’; I never realised how long it took in real life. No wonder they regarded it on a level with doing tapestry as a means of avoiding idle hands!

Winding wool to size around a card before cutting more lengths to knot as a fringe

The next problem was trying to get the weird cockscomb crest working. I wanted it to match the fringe rather than the body of the shawl, and as I’d used a thinner yarn for this I was back to experimenting with hook size again. I tried a large hook, I tried a small hook, I tried using the wool doubled, and eventually came to the conclusion that folding up a thick strip to get the heavy cartridge-pleated effect visible in the photo wasn’t going to work. I also came to the conclusion that the instructions about how far along the strip to place the folds were simply wrong!

So in the end I winged it to produce a lighter and shorter strip that would stand up better under its own steam – the heavy one simply weighed down the front of the head-shawl and caused it to flop – and decided that the mysterious instruction to ‘gather slightly’ the folds implied gathering each separate fold width-ways across the strip to spread the bows a little at the top, rather than gathering the strip lengthways into the actual folds required. At any rate it seemed to provide the requisite stiffening.

After all this I wasn’t particularly pleased with the finished article, which didn’t look much like the original pattern photo despite all my efforts. However I tried it out in the cold and snow of this past spring, and found it surprisingly effective despite the open mesh; it’s not proof against a direct blast of icy wind, but it does keep your head pretty warm otherwise. And I had been getting very, very tired of reknotting my large polyester headsquare, which persisted in slipping undone and was very unflattering.

The drawstring design of the head-shawl (essentially, you just pull the cord tight around your neck to fasten it on) proved as practical as advertised, although I haven’t used it for riding my bike – and the long ends of the triangle hanging down in front fill in the neck opening of a coat very conveniently. It doesn’t have the same tendency as a neckscarf to come unwound if you turn your head, and I found I didn’t spend so much time hunching rigidly to try to keep the draught out. Meanwhile the ‘crest’ on the front does actually serve a purpose in making the design noticeably more flattering than a basic headscarf – it removes the ‘low forehead’ appearance and is much less reminiscent of a Russian granny!

So in fact I ended up wearing it on a more or less daily basis throughout the prolonged wait for Spring: it’s easier (because less bulky) to carry around than a hat and scarf, doesn’t look like a peasant headwrap, and is surprisingly effective as a warm garment. I’ve even been told that it looks appealingly ‘retro’, which is perhaps unsurprising in a 1940s pattern…

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I just loved the bird ornament on this pattern from Mrs. Depew the moment I saw it. So I bought a copy and made myself one.

The pdf contains instructions for drawing out the hat and bird patterns and describes how to do the other  variations pictured. Sewing instructions are minimalist to say the least. But drawing the pattern is simple and it’s easy to sew. An unlined felt one would be perfect to start with if you were unsure and needed a practise hat.

Anyway I made this to complete a tailored suit which uses the same suede as a trim, but no pictures of me in that ensemble yet as I still have an extra Christmas inch on my waist and the pencil skirt was already tight to start with. As soon as I can button the waistband again I will post about my making of that as it’s a copy of a late 40′s suit and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

But back to the hat- I made this one out of suede and lined it. The bird wings are two layers of suede fused (bondaweb) together to keep them from flopping. Next time I’ll probably do the same on the tail but it depends on how firm the material is. The two pattern changes I made were to enlarge the head opening and make the birds body a tiny bit shorter… but possibly my initial measurements for that were a little off in the first place. Stitching the edges gave it a more finished look I thought.

How long to make?  With drawing the pattern and messing about with my sewing machine to get it sewing suede nicely about 4-5 hours. I expect further hats to take much less time.

Will I make it again?  Definitely. Plans for red velvet, black felt….


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