Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tutorial • Kimono Sleeves

Today I am sharing a tutorial that I have been wanting to post for quite a while! The dress in these photos is almost completed and will be photographed soon, but for now I wanted to share part of the construction of this dress; our method for finishing kimono sleeves. 

I have seen several different ways of finishing them; in the past I have simply serged the edge after stitching it. and then clipped it (which just resulted in the serging coming apart), or clipped the edge and then topstitched on each side of the seam afterwards. The method I'm showing you today seems to work the best for us, however, and keeps the raw edges doing what they are supposed to; staying put! ;)

First of all, you want to sew your underarm seams on each side, leaving a left side opening for a zipper, if applicable. My seam allowances were 5/8". It is hard to see the stitching since the thread happens to match so well! Should have used red thread! ;)

After you stitch the seam, clip the seam in the underarm area around the curve.  

I made about 6-7 clips, clipping from the sleeve end around the curve to the straight side seam ege. Clip to within 1/8" of the seam. 

Now you are going to serge the underarm seams!

Starting with the zipper side (assuming you have one; if not, you're getting off easy!), open up the seam so that you are serging only one layer of fabric at a time. When you start on the sleeve edge, serge very closely to the seam, as shown in the left picture. When you get to the underarm curve, "pull" your seam out straight so that the clipped area is spread apart. Serge very close to the seam so that even the clipped areas are contained within the serging. Serge around the curve, and as soon as you are past the clipped areas, angle back out to the edge of the fabric so that you still have your full 5/8" seam allowances for the side zipper.

Repeat for the other (left side) seam allowance, starting at the waistline edge, and angling inward as soon as you get past the zipper opening.

For the right side seam, serge both layers of fabric at once, serging very close to the stitching line as with the other seam, pulling the underarm curve out straight, just as before.

And....voila! You have a beautifully (and easily!) finished underarm seam!

Close-up view.

View of the zipper side.

Then you will press your seams from the outside. 

Perfect curves, and a nice finished edge inside. :)

Credit for this method goes to my mom; she first discovered it  when she was making this vintage baby bathrobe. Since then we've used it on every single kimono sleeve seam, and it works like a charm!

(Please forgive my selvedges....they got trimmed off, don't worry!) ;)

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and that it made sense! Please let me know if you have any questions! 

I'll be back next week with photos of this dress. Stay tuned! :)
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

• 1940s Tropical Print Rayon Dress •

It's about time I posted a vacation dress, don't you think? ;)

Ironically enough, even though we got back from vacation almost 2 months ago, all I have been posting is (very) new projects! I think the reason was all the cold weather; I didn't want to cover up all of my warm-weather vacation dresses with sweaters! In any case, here is the first vacation dress installment of many. ;)

I posted a preview picture of this dress back in January, but at that point it was not even sewn together! Between then and the completion of it was a period of deep displeasure with it! I had it nearly completed and tried it on for waist length, only to discover that I really, really hated it. The reason was, I was trying it on without a belt, and it was also about 2-3" too long in the waist. So you can imagine how grand it looked....2010s goes 1920s long-waisted, hangy peplum dress. Blech!

It was hurled onto the UFO pile, but about a week later, I decided to try it on for laughs, just to prove how horrible it truly was. I tried it on with a belt that time, hiked the waist up a bit for looks, and I actually loved it! It was finished very soon after, and all ready to wear on vacation. The bonus is that during the time of displeasure with it, I got an extra dress made for vacation. ;)

I used Simplicity 1692 for the bodice, adding darts in place of the tucks, adding a sweetheart neckline from a vintage pattern, and changing the armholes a bit. So basically, 1692 was just used as a basic bodice sloper. 

The skirt (oh, that skirt!!) is from Butterick 6266. It is one of my new favorite skirt patterns! Admittedly, the rayon fabric makes it hang beautifully, but really, anything with a peplum like that is *so* perfectly 1940s. I would love to make that pattern sometime with the pleated-neck bodice that it comes with!

I purchased this fabric almost 2 years ago from Denver Fabrics; it was a 3-1/2 yard remnant that was on sale for a very good price! I won't mention that I bought it just because it matched my Miss L Fire shoes....even though I did. ;)

I had a bit of a hard time with the washing and sewing process, however! It is rayon challis, which stretches when it's wet, and even as you iron it, none of which information I knew at the time. So when I washed it, I hung it out on the clothesline to dry, and inadvertently stretched it as I clothes-pinned it. The result? Very contorted, stretched-in-some-areas-and-not-in-others fabric. Grr. Fast forward probably a year to this January when I finally decided to make it, I washed it once again, but this time oh-so-carefully draped it over a clothes rack, being careful not to stretch it in the least. That worked, thankfully! It ended up stretching a bit as I made it, which caused quite the scare when it looked noticeably smaller after washing! It wasn't a problem though, thank goodness. :)

This belt buckle was from one of our antique forays earlier this year. I love the color as well as the width; wider belts are fast becoming my favorite kind!

Ironically enough, even though I bought this fabric to wear with my orange Miss L Fire shoes, I don't think I've worn them with it once as of yet! ;) I wore my Two Old Beans '40s oxfords while on vacation, and my Remix Vintage sandals with it this time. The weather was simply too glorious not to do so! 

I had to topstitch the neckline in order to keep it from rolling outward, since it refused to lay right even after pressing it.

Incidentally, I wore this dress when we toured the USS Alabama! We *just happened* to be there on the day of their Living History reenactment, which made it all the more fun! It was very amazing to watch the battle reenactment! 

Cleaning the guns and prepping them for the battle....


The commander fired a few (imaginary) shots.....

Got him!!!!!

There's only one word for that battleship; MASSIVE. It's so huge!!! It was so much fun to tour it again; we were there 7 years ago, but there was a lot that we missed last time. I also got a totally new perspective of it since I have a so much greater appreciation for WWII history than I formerly did! 


It was *so* wonderful to be able to take pictures of a light, summery dress without freezing to death! The weather has been simply glorious, and has invoked even the sewing-addicted (aka: ME) to get out and garden! I planted the "early" vegetables; potatoes, onions, carrots and peas, and now just need to work on cleaning out the many weed and dead-vegetation-infested gardens! :) It's actually fun though when the weather is this beautiful! 

There is and has been a lot of sewing happening around here as well. The current sewing itinerary includes (amongst others); a gingham 1930s dress, a Civil War dress for an upcoming reenactment next month (squee!!), a 1950s teal dotty birthday dress, and a dressy peach-hued 1940s or '50s dress for an upcoming wedding in June. Lots of sewing to do!!!

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, thank you so much for your kind and sweet comments! I appreciate each and every one of you! :)
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

VSFLO • Seersucker Florals

(VSFLO = Vintage Sewing For Little Ones)

About a month ago, I decided to make a dress for each of two of my nieces. I was worried about having the right size pattern, but thankfully they were both around a size 6, the which size I have quite a few patterns for! I milled around from fabric to fabric, trying to decide what to use for each of them. I finally decided on these two seersucker prints, both of which were purchased about 15 and 20 years ago. The blue print was destined to be a dress for me when I was a little girl, but it never came to fruition, sadly. A few years back, I made part of the fabric into a pillowcase, and the rest into (very sorry-looking) curtains.

As it turned out, those sorry-looking curtains ended up making one very cute little dress! I just had two valance-sized panels and a little scrap of fabric left, but managed to squeeze the dress into it, including a 2-1/2" hem!

The pink dress, for my older niece, was made from this 1950s Marian Martin pattern. I have always loved it, and was so excited to finally sew it up! I didn't like how lace looked on the neckline with this fabric, so I decided to bind it instead. It was a huge pain trying to bind those front scallops, but thankfully they turned out anyway. 

Simple white buttons were the perfect touch on the front, accented by pink thread. Little princesses need pink anywhere they can get it, right?! ;)

Puffed sleeves on little girls' dresses are a must, even though they can be a little persnickety to sew. There's just nothing cuter! :)

I love the construction of this dress: the front "waistband" area and skirt are cut in one, as is the back bodice and center back skirt. Then there are side skirt pieces that are stitched on after assembling the other pieces. It was very easy to sew (other than the neck binding....*ahem*), and the result is darling. 

Plenty of lapped seams, as always on vintage patterns. :)

And no little dress is complete without a big, fluffy bow in the back! :)

My younger niece's dress is from this 1945 McCall pattern, also a size 6. I did not have enough fabric to cut a separate belt, as the pattern called for, so I just cut ties and sewed them into the side seams. It seemed so much more practical, anyway, than making a separate belt that would be easily lost. 

The fabric needed some accents, so I opted for some solid green cotton for the collar and sleeve bands. The ruffles on the collar and sleeves are so fun! But then, everyone knows I LOVE ruffles. ;)

The best part about these dresses is the fact that they are made of seersucker, and therefore do not have to be ironed, ever! What could be better for a little girl's dress? The only downside to that was the difficulty of not being able to press virtually anything as I made it. I did iron a few things, like the neck binding of the pink dress, and the ties of both dresses. 

Yay for invisible hems!!! :D

It was such a fun project to make these dresses, and the girls looked absolutely adorable in them. Perfect colors and styles for each ones' looks and personalities. Now I'm inspired to start making more little people's clothing! It's so much fun to do, and the results are always adorable.

Thanks for visiting! :) See you next week.
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Friday, April 8, 2016

• The Enchanting Rose Tea Cup Exchange •

A little while back, Stephanie of The Enchanting Rose Blog announced that she was hosting another tea cup exchange! I had never participated before, and it took some gentle persuasion from my dear friend Sarah, but I finally signed up for it. ;) I was not disappointed, and in fact, I was amazed not only by the generosity of the lady who sent my package, but also the expert arrangement and overseeing of the exchange by Stephanie. I received my package in very short order, and it was exactly to my taste!!

My package went to a lady named Heidi, whose interests were anything British, blue, and historical crafting/costuming. I sent along a pretty floral teacup, her favorite flavor of tea, a couple of potholders I had made a little while back, and a doily, also made by me.


The package I received was from a very talented and generous lady named Dana.

She sent me a gorgeous teacup, an adorable bunny, (!!!) chocolate (!!!), my favorite flavor of tea, and a gorgeous handmade tea towel. 

The tea cup is absolutely exquisite; roses are some of my very favorite flowers, and, well, pink IS my favorite color. So this cup is just perfect! The green outer with the gorgeous gold on it is also breathtakingly beautiful, and to top it all off, it's made in England! :) Can't beat that!

Amid all the other treasures in the box was this beautiful tea towel, hand embroidered by Dana! It is so absolutely gorgeous, I can't believe it! Such intricate detail! 

Thank you so much to lovely Dana for the wonderful gifts, and to Stephanie for hosting this so-much-fun tea cup exchange!! I will definitely be participating again, and I would recommend it to all others who are interested as well! Special thanks also go to Sarah, for successfully persuading me to take part. ;) 

Thanks for visiting! See you next week. :)
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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Simplicity 1587 • Version 5

It's rather ironic; I had planned on photographing and posting a tropical, lightweight rayon dress today, and instead I ended up posting a wintry plaid dress worn with furs. Interesting how that works, isn't it? ;)

The weather took a sudden turn into coldness again, so I decided to buck the April fur deadline and sneak in one last appearance of them for the season. It was cold enough to need them, that's for sure! 

I made this dress before Christmas, and have worn it a lot since then! It is made of the same material as my plaid 1912 skirt; a thick, woven cotton material that has a slight stretch to it. In short, it is the ultimate dress fabric. :) 

We bought this fabric quite a few years ago! I wanted my mom to make me a dress like one that Kit, an American Girl doll had. That was so long ago, I can't even find a picture of the original dress! Sadness! ;)

As you may have guessed, that particular dress never got made, so I had about 5 yards of this lovely material laying around to make into something. I made the plaid 1912 skirt out of it first, but had a little bit of material left afterwards. I never thought there would be enough for a dress, but surprisingly enough, there was! I was able to *just barely* squeeze Simplicity 1587 out of it, using the Vogue 8767 skirt.

I suppose the amount of times I've made this pattern rather speaks for itself. Suffice it to say, I love it. And I'm not going to say that I have enough of them, because every time I do, I end up sewing yet another one. ;) There is another summery version that has not been blogged about yet, in fact!

Click to see versions 1, 2, 3, 4.

I made three-quarter length sleeves on this dress, and opted for a bow-less front with a simple (nut) button as an accent. We happened to have a belt buckle that was similar in texture, so that worked well!

This dress matches my vintage 1940s shoes from Two Old Beans better than any other, I think. I just love them! 

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be back in a couple of days with a lovely tea-themed blog post. :) Stay tuned!

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