Advance 5232 Blouse in Liberty Silk

A few days ago, someone on the WeSewRetro fb page asked if anyone ever used liberty silk, which prompted me to revisit and finish this blouse. I started last Autumn.  I had picked up some Liberty Silk a few months previous, and as it was relatively expensive and I was only buying it on a whim I bought .75m, which was really limiting my making options.

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I got this pattern on Vintage Pattern Bazaar and thought it perfect for the Liberty, which it really was.  I had to grade up one size, as well as taking a small bit of the shoulders as I was not going to put shoulder pads in.  I cut it out and it all just about fitted (the selvedge were incorporated into the back seam.  I also decided to sew it on an old Brother/Jones machine as it had a silk setting and I was curious to know what that was.  I soon found out it means sewing in tiny tiny stitches which ended up being a bit of a pain, and if I was to do it again, I would just sew on my usual singer at usual settings.  The main reason it was a pain, is that I also did the gathering (what was I thinking) and the top-stitching in this stitch.  The top stitching looked awful.  it made the shirt look ‘country and western’ style and as I was in no mood to take out tiny stitches, I popped it into my wardrobe so not to look at it for a while (head in sand etc).

Anyway, when the post came up on facebook, it was a timely reminder to finish the blouse.  I undid the top stitch and sewed the yoke underneath, and it looked way better.  I hand hemmed, and put a cream button and loop (I couldn’t remember where the fabric scraps were to cover the button and make a new loop – so now – blouse finished.  Liberty silk is lovely to work on.  the weave is very dense and fine (and very strong!).

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Announcing the Vintage Suit Sew Along

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Hello We Sew Retro Sewists,

I have an exciting announcement, it seems to be the season for Sew Alongs! A friend of mine, Amy Jansen Leen from Chica Chica Boom Chic and I have been planning a Vintage Suit Sew Along, and I have all the details on my blog if you would like to join….

We are going to share our progress, tips, inspiration and at the end of the Sew Along we’ll share all your and our makes!

So, who’s in?

Visit my blog, Mermaid’s Purse, for all the details, including how to participate and the time frame.

#vintagesuitsewalong

line drawing of suits

“I dream of Tiki” Hawaiian dress sew-along!

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Aloha, my fellow vintage sewing enthusiasts! A couple weeks ago I posted an inquiry on the We Sew Retro sew-and-tell Facebook page regarding a Hawaiian dress sew-along. There seems to be enough interest to make this a fun little activity, so here we go!

The rules:

1. It must be a Hawaiian dress. It can be a full skirt, sarong, or whatever floats your boat, it just needs to be Hawaiian/tiki themed!

2. You can use whatever pattern makes you happiest, (or draft your own!), but it should be vintage/vintage reproduction/or styled after an actual vintage garment.

That’s it!

In order to make this as fun and engaging as possible, take pictures of your progress and post each week before we advance to the next stage of our sew-along! I’ll post details on each step as we progress.

If you are having troubles at any point, post for help! This can be in the comments on the blog post itself, or on the sew-and-tell page on Facebook!

We’ll start May 1st, so everyone has a chance to gather supplies :)

Post your pattern and fabric choices in the comments for inspiration!

I can’t wait to get started!

Xoxo Rhandee

Faux Crop Top (+ Tutorial)

 

Last year I happened to stumble across McCall’s 4933 (available on etsy here!!) and noticed that it was not a crop top, as it seemed, but a faker posing as a crop top. I couldn’t find it in my size so I did some sleuthing and the back of the pattern envelope shows that it is basically just an extra long top with a big tuck in it–I can do that! You can too!

I used my go-to crop top pattern, Simplicity 3480 which I think is from 1959 or 60. All you do is straighten out the side seams, making your top reeeeally long, and then take one big tuck at waist level to create the “overblouse” effect. It looks like the hem, but it’s really just a long pleat.

I’m a firm believer in wearing just about anything that makes you feel good, but if you feel like you can’t (or don’t want to) pull off a crop top for whatever reason, or you just want something a little different, is is easy to transform a regular top pattern into one for a tuck-in crop top. I’ve made a couple of these fake crop tops (or “tuck-in blouse with look of short overblouse” as the original pattern described them), and I loveeee them. They’re so easy to wear and offer good coverage while looking cool and, as my mom said, “neat and tidy.” You can see the full tutorial here!!

xoxo,
allie J.

Audrey Hepburn Skirt (self drafted)

I love a little peek of petticoat.

I love a little peek of petticoat.

I’ve been patting myself on the back since I finished this skirt. I’ve always been terrified of sewing anything without a pattern, and I’d convinced myself it would come out just awful. Boy was I happy when it didn’t!!!! I had originally intended to do the this double pleated skirt, but the pattern on this fabric wasn’t having it. I wasn’t about to behead Audrey!!

Whew!

Whew!

I did get to use the wrap top from the above mentioned pattern, which I just LOVE with this skirt. I think the plain-but-flirty top really lets the fun skirt print shine, ya know? More details on the blog! Sewn By Ashley

‘Pass the Peas’ Dress – a Vintage Mash-Up

Hello! I’ve just come back from adventures in Los Angeles and Hollywood, where as well as visiting all the sights, I also managed to do some fabric shopping. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me to visit Mood’s Los Angeles outpost; instead, I was excited about seeing Islands Fabrics, which is a whole store devoted to Hawaiian and Tropical fabric!

I was very restrained and only bought one piece, which is the barkcloth-weight leaves in the picture below, bottom right:

Juat a selection of what I purchased

The rest was picked up in the surrounding shops, and there were so many more than expected:


Most of them are earmarked for shirts for Mr Needles, would you believe, but I managed to sneak in one more for myself, the little garden peas print cotton. It was sitting unloved on a pavement at the bargain price of only $2 per yard (had to go back to Imperial for this visit; metric never really did take off in the US), so I felt sorry for it and bought a couple of yards.


At first I saw it as a blouse – it seemed like too much pattern for a dress – but this beauty had been playing on my mind:


This was part of my prize from Vintage Pattern Pledge for 2015, run by Kerry at Kestrel Makes and Marie at a Stitching Odyssey. It seems apt to use the pattern won from 2015’s pledge as part of 2016’s pledge, so I went for it!


Just one hitch – buying without a specific project in mind had backfired, and 2 yards wasn’t going to be enough to accommodate the flared skirt. Solution – use a straight skirt from another favourite pattern, Butterick 8571:


I’ve used this pattern twice before, once as illustrated here, and once just as the skirt here and it worked out fine both times.


I had planned to take some pretty photos in my garden, doing some gentle weeding or something, but the recent gales we experienced here in the UK have turned my neglected garden into a bit of a mess. But I carried on regardless – here’s the new dress in action:



I don’t think the change in skirt makes too much difference – it still looks 40s’ish. besides the skirt, I also had to adapt the sleeves to a shorter length in order to fit them in. But I gave them a little scalloped detail just as a reference to the original ruched shape:



Inside of sleeve with facing

 

 

Speaking of sleeves, I decided to insert the sleeve before the side seams were attached, on the flat, as it were. This was much easier and less fiddly than the usual technique of closing the side and underarm seam first, and the sleeve head came out pretty smooth:



The neckline is the main feature on this dress, being made up of 2 draped and pleated panels which then attach at the centre front and are covered with a little tab:

Before attachment to bodice…

 

 

…and after

 

 

I wasn’t quite sure how to finish this seam so that it was neat and attractive, and the instructions give you no guidance. I finally decided to bind it with bias cut from the same fabric as the lining:



The hem was also finished with matching bias strips:



I rarely line a dress fully – I get too hot! – and this was no exception. I used a gold poly to line the skirt, which you can see at the kick pleat at the back:


And finally it all gets closed up with a zip at the centre back, which is again a necessary departure from the pattern which saved fabric. But I did stay old-school and put the zip in by hand, with a little hook and eye at the top:


And that’s pretty much it. I’m off to learn how to drive this thing!


See you soon!