Monday, March 30, 2015

Tutorial • Making Belts

In view of the fact that I really don't like indoor photo shoots, and the weather outside has been nasty, I decided to post a little tutorial today in lieu of dress photos.

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Back when I posted my Redo Dress, Sarah A. and Irene asked about my method of sewing keyhole openings and making belts. My mom happened to be making a belt the other day, so it was the perfect opportunity to photograph our method. The keyhole tutorial will be up in a week or two!

First of all, you will need to cut 2 strips of fabric, each one being twice the inside width of your belt, plus 3/8". For this belt, the inside width of the buckle was 7/8", so she cut each strip of fabric 2 1/8" wide.

You also need to cut two strips of interfacing; we use a heavyweight type that is actually for home decor. Be sure to choose a thick enough interfacing, otherwise your belt will tend to fold as you wear it. Cut each strip the actual width of the inside of your belt buckle.
You can also use belting instead of interfacing as I did for my pleated 1950s dress. (See * below second picture).

Fuse the interfacing onto the wrong side of your fabric, making sure that the interfacing is centered on the fabric strip, and that you have at least 1/8" on the end to fold over later.

Once you have fused each strip of interfacing, it is time to form the point of your belt! Mark the center of your interfacing on the point end. Then iron over the end of the strip, as in the picture below. Once the end is folded over, fold each side of the strip over into a point, lining up the edges with your center mark. Press.

*If you are using belting, simply cut your piece of belting the desired length, cutting one end into a point or angle, and follow the directions below for folding the fabric around it. You will then remove the belting from the piece you just ironed and repeat the same techniques with the other half. Then sew it together following these same instructions.

Next, fold over and press the fabric edges. The interfacing edge makes it very easy to fold the fabric over evenly!

Repeat with the other side of the belt.

Once you have pressed both sides of each belt strip, you are ready to sew!

Using a hand sewing needle and thread, blind stitch the point end of the belt together so that it stays perfectly aligned.

Now it's time to sew the belt together! I prefer to use my regular presser foot, but my mom likes to use the zipper foot. Try each one out to see which way is easier for you!
Start sewing at the point of the belt, just 1/8" from the edge. Sew to the end of the belt and repeat with the other edge.

Now that your belt is sewn together, it's time to add the finishing touches! If your buckle has a prong, as this one does, sew (or install) eyelets in the appropriate places, and sew the belt to the buckle. You can also add a belt loop as my mom did.

If you have an ordinary slide buckle, you can either permanently sew the belt to the buckle or use our nifty little buckle-sharing method;

The buckle is slid onto the point end of your belt.

A hook is then sewn onto the point end of the belt, with a corresponding eye (or eyes) on the other end of the belt in the desired places;

Since pretty vintage buckles are rather scarce, this method seems quite sensible as it allows you to share buckles between many different dresses.

The end result!

I apologize for being so long-winded, but with tutorials it is hard to be otherwise! If you have any questions, please let me know!

And as if there aren't already enough photos in this post, here's a couple of sneak peeks of my current projects. :)

I'll be back on Friday with Vol. II of Woman's Home Companion!

• Special thanks to my mom for letting me distract her sewing with my photography! ;) •

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Stashbusting • 1940s Belted Blouse

Volume II of the Woman's Home Companion will be up next Friday, but today I needed to post my Historical Sew Monthly project! The challenge for this month is stashbusting, but unfortunately, my stash is not very prolific since I haven't been sewing for years on end! While others have bins full of stashed fabric, I seem to sew almost as much as I buy. I suppose that could be looked at as a good thing to the un-knowing soul, but to a seamstress it is rather unfortunate. I have a feeling the stash will grow to a more wholesome size as the months go by, so I can take comfort in that thought! ;)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we found some vintage patterns at a recent trek to the antique shop. I just loved the style of this blouse, and was so excited to make it! The pattern is a cinch to make, and the style looks great in these fabrics. There's just one problem; it looks terrible on me.

There is a silver lining to this cloud, however, because it happens to look beautiful on my mom! I was a little disappointed about it at first, but I really don't mind. I've never been able to pull of the belted-blouse look, so it wasn't a great shock. And now, my mom has a new blouse! Yay! :)

I have had both of these fabrics for ages; I bought the blue for a dress, originally, but it was back in the days of my sewing ignorance, so it never came into being. 
Instead, I made a regency apron (which also fits my mom better than me....what's up with that?), a housecleaning/nursery apron, and still had enough leftover to make the accents on this blouse. I love the two fabrics together, and the contrast is just perfect on the blouse.

The pattern features a yoke that is topstitched onto the front and back bodice. I am becoming quite a fan of that method of sewing seams. It's rather nifty, in my opinion!
The back bodice has slight gathers at the shoulders on each side, and the front bodice has a dart extending down from the shoulder. It's a very comfortable, well-fitting design (if it's your style).

As for the skirt; it is a variation of McCall 6993, with a waistband instead of the detailed yoke. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit either. I was still learning about making skirts when I made it last year, so I made it with a couple of inches of ease at the waist. Not a very good idea. At all. If I was diligent and industrious, I would remake it. Ahem.

Apparently I should have titled this post "The Outfit That Doesn't Fit Me"! ;) 

The Challenge: Stashbusting
Fabric: Two coordinating cottons, purchased at JoAnn
Pattern: Vintage Hollywood Pattern 926
Year: 1941-5
Notions: Thread, buttons
How historically accurate is it? Perfectly, aside from the serging on seams
Hours to complete: 5-6
First worn: Around the house last week! 
Total cost: $20

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Monday, March 23, 2015

• 1940s Summer Frock •

Although the weather outside is hardly summery, I'm prepared for whenever the warm weather strikes! I just made this dress last weekend, and, well, it is already my favorite. The fabric is so soft, and the design so comfortable, I simply can't help but love it!

As is the case quite often, I intended this fabric for something entirely different; a Regency apron, in fact! I picked it for that purpose simply because it is a neutral that could go with whites, off-whites, or almost any color. However, when I'm on the lookout for my next project, such plans are liable to be changed!

This 1943 Sears catalog photo was the inspiration for my gathered skirt, and I used Butterick 5846 for the bodice, like my green shirtdress.
 Since I only had 3 1/4 yards, I did not have enough fabric to line the yoke, but that turned out to be a good idea anyway because of the generally lightweight nature of the whole dress. It was a bit of a tight squeeze to fit all of the pieces into that small of an amount of fabric, but it worked!

Ordinarily I can't put my finger on a particular favorite dress, but I think that has all just changed. :)

There is a "first" involved in this dress; my first bound buttonholes ever!! My mom was thinking of putting them on a garment she was working on, so we pulled out our 1941 "Sew and Save" magazine to see how it was done. I decided to try making a practice one too, and immediately got hooked! Although they're a little bit time-consuming, I think I've just been converted to them, especially since I haven't had a very good relationship with my sewing machine's buttonhole-making talents of late. And, bound buttonholes are just so....neat!!

Although Butterick 5846 is not a vintage reproduction pattern, I just love the quintessential 1940s styling; the yoke with gathers, the tucks under the bust, the longer length sleeves. It's actually hard resisting the urge to make more dresses exactly like this. Very hard.

Since I was wearing a summery dress, I decided to wear a very summery sun hat as well! Strangely enough, in rummaging around for a suitable hat trim, I happened to pull out the sash for my floral regency dress. It ended up being the perfect length, color and size to tie onto this hat! It works out quite well since the sash never fit right with the dress anyway. Whatever works, right?!

I am looking forward to wearing my new frock to death this summer! Until then though, I'll just wear sweaters and hope for warmer weather! :)

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Excerpts From the Past • 1911 Woman's Home Companion • Vol I

Since Brigid and Cassie went with an early 1900s theme for their Magazine Monday scans, I decided to go with the flow and do the same!
We found this 1911 Woman's Home Companion magazine at an antique store about a month ago, and just couldn't resist it. I knew from that moment that it would be delightful for sharing in my Excerpts From the Past series! The magazine is a little bit rough-looking on the outside - in fact, the previous owner had duct-taped the binding to hold it together. Not very romantic, but quite practical nonetheless! I decided to try my hand at editing it out, and I think it came out fairly well, considering. Between Photoshop, Picasa, and Paint, I was able to make it look a little more like it should. :)

My mom has a knack for finding the most amazing lace collars and antique doo-hickeys, and this jabot is no exception. It's so pretty; I can't wait to see it in action on an Edwardian blouse or dress!
Since the watch is also my mom's (an heirloom from her grandma), I can credit all of today's beautiful photo props to her. 

As there are exactly 97 pages (don't worry, I'm not sharing all of them) in this magazine, I decided to split it up into two separate posts. Today we'll be looking at hand-work, baby clothes, ladies' blouses and skirts. 
Next time it will be mostly dresses!

First off is this whole-page article about general house-keeping helps. Such practical information!! It's hard to imagine such things being printed in a magazine nowadays.

These little girls' hats are too adorable. My favorite is that little sunbonnet (Little House on the Praire, anyone?), but they are all quite irresistible!

How cute are those baby outfits?! I'll say this right now though, my little baby boys aren't going to be wearing dresses. One can take vintage-style dressing too far. ;)

Ahhhh. Dainty summer blouses. I just adore that sailor blouse on the top left. All of the styles are simply delightful, and the very epitome of lady-like clothing. Those hats in the "Flaxon Fabric" ad are just gorgeous as well!

One thing I have never really considered is embroidery on clothing, but it is definitely a good idea for Edwardian garments! It gives them such a beautiful, delicate look. I'm starting to get in a defnite Edwardian-sewing mood, so I may be putting these ideas into action soon!

Those hats....heehee. They're almost hilarious, but yet I like them! They're so girly.

Lastly is this whole page full of gorgeous skirts. I really can't even pick a favorite. They're all too delightful! The buttons and seaming details make them so interesting and beautiful!

I hope you enjoyed this week's Excerpts From the Past! It makes for quite the entertaining read, and even the ads are intriguing!

Also, I want to thank you all for your sweet, lovely comments on my last post!! You are so very kind! :)
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