Vintage Pattern Contest – muslin progress

I officially dislike vintage pattern magazines for their lack of instructions, markings and, well, clarity. Hats off to the seamstresses of the time — they obviously knew what they were doing! I mean, look at this sheet:


Seriously? I’m dizzy just looking at it!

I took the bull by the horns and attacked tracing my pattern pieces. Lucky for me, there are only 5 pieces, 6 if you include the back facing. Pleats and darts are somewhat clearly indicated, however you’d expect a bit more markings, like notches to know where to attach the pleated front bodice pieces to the lower piece? I can only rely on the sketch and the picture in the magazine to imagine what goes where. Again, hats off to the seamstresses of the 50’s!

Here are my pattern pieces, ready to cut my muslin fabric. As you can see, I got confused around the back dart/pleat, hence the extra lines.


After this was all done and my muslin fabric was cut and marked (so. many. pleats. to. mark. ugh.), the first challenge: how the heck to assemble this? Where do I start? What comes next? And better yet: how are you even supposed to get in and out of this dress? They don’t mention a zipper or buttons in the list of notions, and the pictures don’t help at all. I studied the pattern and figured out I had to put a zipper at the side seam — both back and front pieces are cut on the fold, and the skirt is composed of side panels, also cut on the fold. That leaves only tiny side seams, about 20 cm, where to put a zipper.

Below is my (almost) finished muslin, with only one side skirt panel attached. Seeing the width of the skirt, I’m not worried about not inserting the 2nd one to check the fit, I was more concerned about the waist and the bust to be honest!




The front/side pleat hangs funny because I didn’t press it at all and I’m still wearing my sweatpants under the dress 😛 Interesting construction though, basically the joining seam of the front and side skirt panels form a pleat that merges into the front darts. Brilliant. Same happens on the back.

I’m absolutely ecstatic about how the muslin turned out, I think I won’t need many alterations. The lower bodice is snug but not uncomfortable, I can bend, breathe and sit without a problem. And the fabric I’ll be using is a gorgeous stretch sateen, so I’m not worried about the final dress being too tight. I might give myself a bit more room under the sleeves though, I guess ladies of the 50’s didn’t have big muscular biceps and triceps with extra loose skin hanging after losing a lot of weight 😆

Talking about fabric, here’s what I want to use:

stretch satin blue

Isn’t it amazingly beautiful? And only 4.50 EUR/meter! I should receive my package today or tomorrow. Can’t wait to start on the real dress! 🙂


Sunday at the fabric market

It’s that time of the year again, when the fabric market makes a stop in my town. Dozens and dozens of stands, filled with fabric bolts of all types and colors. So tempting!

But contrary to last year, I didn’t make a huge loot. Not that there wasn’t choice, they just didn’t have what I was looking for. So here’s what I came back with:

3m of coral stretch cotton, with a bit of a texture to it. I bought it with Simplicity 1914 in mind. Must be because of the similarity in color!

Then we have 2,5m of bright pink double knit (love the color!) and 4,5m dark purple wooltouch fabric. I bought wooltouch fabric before in other colors and it’s a great quality fabric, perfect for winter office wear. Yes, winter. It was so darn cold today that I think everyone had trouble imagining summer dresses and tops! And since the wooltouch was on sale at half the price, I couldn’t let it pass!

And finally, two pieces (approx 1,5 m2 each) of gorgeous dark brown-red leather. It matches my leather jacket perfectly 😆 I’m thinking of making a bag. At 10 euros each, they were a steal!

And that’s it. I’m slightly disappointed with the offering this year – or it’s just me who wants colors/patterns that are not in their inventory! Meh.

On my way back home, I was intrigued by a shop window with a tulip shaped bag. It even had mini tulip shaped wallets! I thought they were really cute. Must find a way to make my own. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

In other news, yesterday was the first fitting of the wedding dress. Lo and behold, the fit was almost perfect! Just a few seams to adjust here and there, and the bride will look stunning in her dress. But you’ll have to wait until after the wedding to see it all. Because we can’t let everyone see the bride’s dress ahead of time, right? 😉


Fabric market loot

Last weekend was my yearly Spring highlight: the fabric market was in town! I once talked about such an event a few years ago here. Fabric, and fabric and more fabric.

And what a beautiful, warm Sunday it was!  I went later than usual, because I had to be somewhere else in the morning. So it was quite crowdy when I got there. But the weather made it bearable – sunshine! My typical way to approach the fabric market is to first establish my budget for the day – and stick to it 😉 It’s sooooooooo easy to get carried away! But I was a good girl and managed to even stay under budget, ha! After that, I make a list (mental or written) of what I’d like to find – prints? cotton? knits? what colors? do I need notions? And then I make a first round, visiting each stand, looking, feeling. I compare prices, quality. The hardest is to resist buying on impulse, at first sight. Often enough, you’ll find that same fabric cheaper at another stand, OR you’ll have a ‘What was I thinking?’ moment once you’re back home. So I make mental notes of the fabrics I’d like to buy and how much it would cost. Sometimes I have to make difficult decisions to stick to my budget and reluctantly leave one or two behind, but often enough, once I visit the stand a second time, the fabric isn’t as appealing as it was in the first place. Problem solved!

So here’s a summary of what I brought back:

Animal print lining for my jacket (thats the red fabric underneath!) I had another lining in mind first, but when I found that one, I couldnt resist 🙂

A soft antique pink seersucker, perfect for a nightgown

Cherries! Cherries! A cotton print for a fruity circle skirt 🙂

A knit border print. Will probably end up being a simple t-shirt dress for lounging or travelling

Polka dots. Because I love them.

Some fun cotton prints

And because Im in a yellow phase, I bought some soft yellow eyelet, a stretch poplin, and a poly blend.

A gorgeous border print, lovely drape

Thats actually the same piece of fabric, but the other half - a different border print, how cool is that??

So, there you have it – my fabric stash has been refilled 😆

Happy sewing week everyone!

Girlie yet badass dress

I diverted a bit from my sewing plan (don’t I always?) to work on a dress pattern I was dying to try, Butterick 5315. It’s a modern pattern, with a vintage feel. And OMG, I just love the result!

The skirt is so full, so twirly! On the pictures, my Diana is sporting the dress with a petticoat for an extra “poof” effect. The belt is a purchased elasticized belt I bought last winter. My fabric is 100% cotton with an old skool tattoos print. I didn’t make a real effort to match the lines of the print, but it turned out very good nonetheless, except at the back (more below). I made View B with no major changes, except grading up to size 28, which gave me plenty of ease. It fits perfectly.  I made one small alteration to the pattern by adding about 4 cm of length at the hem, so I could cut off the excess at the front if necessary to make sure the skirt hangs straight (to compensate the roundness of my derriere). In the end, it wasn’t even necessary to cut off that excess, the skirt was indeed hanging straight all around! And I actually liked the length as it was, so I just made a quick narrow hem. Note to self if I make that pattern again: add 4 cm at the length!

Side view:

I fiddled a bit with the front, but I really like how it turned out. Close up of the buttoned front with peter pan collar:

The sleeves have elastic inserted in a casing made using bias tape. I really like the feel of the satin bias tape on the skin, much more comfortable than sewing the elastic directly to the sleeve!

And here’s a full view of the back:

The back has a yoke (which is faced – very neat from the inside!) and a pleat. I had a bit of trouble with matching the lines on the yoke and the lower back piece, as you can see on the left of this picture:

The back pleat was messing up the matching every time, so I gave up. I just hope people will look at me from the front and not the back 😉

I am in love with this shirt dress and I know I will enjoy wearing it the coming months!

Dresses, dresses

I still need to sew for Spring/Summer… and we’ve already had temperatures above 15°C! Needless to say, I hate this period when it’s not quite warm enough to wear short sleeves, but getting way too warm for long skirts and tights. I’m spending long minutes in front of my closet asking myself the eternal question: “What am I going to wear?”

So I decided to go for a quick-fix, and I’ll give Vogue 8632 (view A) a try tomorrow:

The fabric is some mystery poly flower print I bought years ago at a fabric market. I think I must have paid 5 euros in total, a bargain. It’s very lightweight (but not transparent), it drapes very nicely and doesn’t wrinkle at all. And I love the print, with my red shoes it’ll be perfect 😉  I have just enough fabric for view A and I expect View A to end up being on the short side. Fortunately, I know I’ll be wearing it with a pair of black leggings, even in the middle of the summer (anti-chafing!), so it doesn’t really bother me. I have a zipper and the biais tape in my stash already, so I’m good to go!

Next weekend, I want to work on this Vogue 8573 pattern. I just love this dress with back tie. I need a red dress for a photo shoot in April and I’m planning on using some gorgeous red linen (very lightweight) I have in my stash. The pattern calls for a lining and I actually *will* line this dress (I usually ignore linings unless I really can’t avoid them). The only problem is that my linen is actually blended with some lycra, and I don’t want to lose this stretchiness by using a non-stretch lining fabric. I just placed a quick order for some stretch lining fabric at my favorite online fabric store, and I should get my package by Wednesday, just in time for a weekend of sewing 🙂

After reading this, I know my poor teacher is going to say something like: “What about those patterns we worked on together?” Yes, I’ll work on them very soon. Just not now 😉

Summer sewing and badass fabric

I have to share about my recent fabric purchases. Yes, I know I said I didn’t want to buy any new fabric for the time being. Yes, I know I said I wanted to use as much as possible the mounts of fabric I have in my stash for my Spring/Summer sewing.

But I couldn’t resist.

First, I’ve been obsessed with finding a cotton fabric with a lemons print. I need a lemon dress. Or a lemon skirt. In any case, yellow has slowly been growing on me as a Spring/Summer color and lemons are, well, yellow. I didn’t find anything online in the Dutch fabric stores, so I ventured to and voilà, the perfect lemon print:

It’s not as bright in real life, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. It might end up being a dress, but for now I’m aiming at a skirt. I’m thinking Simplicity 2606 view C, with black satin as contrasting fabric. Yum.

And because I’m going to have a totally badass Spring/Summer wardrobe, I needed some badass fabric too. Enter fun cotton prints with Ed Hardy “tattoos” 😆 Found at my favorite online fabric store, De Stoffenkraam (some of them are sold out now, thanks to me :lol:). First, a gorgeous royal blue print. I’m thinking Butterick 5313, view B.

Then, we have a light blue background print, which is going to be turned into a vintage dress pattern I have in my stash. It’s similar to the Butterick pattern above, but with a slightly fuller skirt, and short sleeves with cuffs instead of elastics.

And last, I only have 1.70 m of this fabric. And the picture on the website let me believe it was sort of lilac-ish, but in reality it’s actually grey. Meh. So I was a bit disappointed. I’m not sure what I’ll make out of this one, maybe a cute apron?

So there you have it, my latest fabric loot 😉 First on my list, after the Swing Dress, the mod dress and the high-waisted skirt (I know, I still haven’t given any details about the last two… be patient, it’s coming ;-)), will be the lemon skirt. Then probably the royal blue dress, and then the light blue dress…

Gosh, my projects list is growing by the day! 😦

ETA: I started putting together the muslin for the Swing Dress. I just don’t “get” the neckline. So I’m just setting everything aside for now. Maybe next week it’ll become clear…

40’s Swing Dress Sew-Along – fabric choice

As I said in my previous post, I don’t own many rayon or crepe fabrics.  And when I do, I certainly don’t have enough to make a dress! Following Casey’s suggestion last week, I decided to use 2 different fabrics for the bodice and the belt+skirt:

The fabric on the left is some navy poly fabric that has some sort of very fine ribbing. Not too thick, and just enough body and drape to hold its shape when made into the belt and the skirt. I’m not planning on making the ties. On the right, is a rayon (and poly?) fabric in navy with polka dots in an irregular pattern. With some red accents in accessories, I think the result will be smashing! The solid navy fabric has some stretch, so it will be comfortable to wear to work. On the other hand, the rayon fabric doesn’t have any stretch at all, and that worries me. I usually don’t wear clothes that don’t have any stretch, especially at the shoulders and sleeves. But I’m confident that by altering the pattern using my block, it should be ok. The block is built for wovens, we’ve tested it with a non-stretch fabric and it was actually quite comfortable, believe it or not. (By the way, I haven’t discussed the Swing Dress pattern with my drafting teacher this week as planned, instead we worked on 2 other patterns. They will be discussed in another post ;-))

According to the sew-along schedule, I should be preparing for the muslin the coming week. This should be interesting!

Thinking of Spring/Summer sewing

Blame it on the pattern companies who launched their “early Spring” collections already. Or blame it on the cold winter. But all I think about these days, is what will I wear this Spring/Summer? So far I’m a bit underwhelmed by the new patterns, I hope this is not a sign of the main collections to come. Although there’s a good side: maybe I can use the patterns in my stash instead of hoarding more 😉

Speaking of my stash, I’ve been slowly browsing the patterns I have, picking my favorite candidates. Once I’m satisfied with my preliminary choices, I’ll review these again and narrow them down to the elected few. I think I can have a good basis with 4 bottoms, 4 tops, 1 topper and maybe 1 or 2 dresses.

My criteria for choosing the final patterns are:

  • Preferably made with knits: because I’m sitting at my desk in a warm office all day, I want to be comfortable and not feel constricted or sweaty.
  • Easy and quick to make: I don’t want to spend 3 weeks on 1 garment. I don’t have time nor energy nor motivation to commit to that.
  • Figure flattering: that’s a tricky one. I’m starting to understand my body shape more and more, but I realise that when I purchased these patterns, I might not have been aware of it and fell for the pretty designs… So I have to stay rational and think draping, gathers, empire line in soft fabrics, flowy skirts at the knee, 3/4 sleeves, etc.
  • Have some vintage flair: not all final patterns need to meet this criteria, but the more the merrier!

As for fabrics, I want to use what I have in my stash as much as possible. I’m sure I’ll find something. I’m not expecting all of my 4 tops and 4 bottoms to mix and match with each other, but as long as 1 top matches with at least 2 bottoms, for example, I’ll be happy 🙂

This whole pattern stash browsing exercise might be a good opportunity to set aside the patterns that I should re-sell because they either don’t fit or don’t flatter! With the extra money I can invest in accessories or buy a RTW item that would complement what I’m making. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?

On to more pattern browsing…

Mood is now selling online

Oh. My. Gosh. Mood Designer Fabrics is now selling online:

MUST resist placing an order…

ETA: Ugh. No shipping outside of the USA… of course 🙄

Instant gratification 2

I guess I’m impatient. Or I change my mind easily. Or I’m addicted. Or all of the above.

Earlier this week I ordered some fabric from my favorite online fabric store and I received the package today. Yay!

In the box was a black/ecru/red cotton gabardine:

And a great polyester woven – don’t ask me exactly what it is, I have no idea. The fabric store calls it ‘Terlenka’, which is supposed to be a synthetic fabric. Anyway, it’s in a wonderful dark teal color. It appears to have the same characteristics as the bottle green fabric I want to use for my Instant gratification dress this weekend. Very soft to the touch, not too thick, with good stretch in both directions, and drapes very well.

So what is the Instant gratification 2 project, you might ask?

I’m going to make a simple pencil skirt with the black cotton gabardine, this evening if possible, using my new favorite skirt pattern, McCall’s 3830.

I made 3 skirts using this pattern this Spring and I love it. The fit is great, it’s not complicated, and it’s very quick to assemble. A real instant gratification!

I’ll be sure to post pictures. We have a small get-together Friday after work to say goodbye to some of our colleagues that are leaving us, and I’d love to wear my new skirt for the occasion!