A 2016 Year End Review

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Well, we have made it to the end of 2016 and, boy, what a year!  Many highs, a few lows, and one big life change would sum up my past 12 months.  While I haven’t been able to post as much as I would like over the past few weeks, I plan on getting right back on track for the new year!

One of my most favorite posts to do at this time of year is the review of my favorite sewing projects.  I love looking back and seeing all the various creations I have made, and hopefully I will be able to notice a few improvements on my technique as well! 

So let’s take a look at a few of my favorite projects from this year!!

I loved creating this 1943 ruffled blouse!  Click this link to see how to make one of your own!

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This 1930’s beach wrap was created from scrap fabric which I got for $1 a yard!!  Love those kinds of savings!

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One major accomplishment this year was the publication of my very own vintage sewing pattern book!  Click HERE for more information!

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I designed this 1940’s salmon pink suit by taking inspiration from three separate designs!

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I returned to my roots, and began sewing Regency era gowns again and had great fun photographing them out in nature!

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…and in lovely historic settings.

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Now that my life has return to a more normal status, I can’t wait to get back into my sewing room and starting whipping up more creations!  My 2017 plans include some 1700’s clothing, 1910’s, and everything in between! 🙂

I wish you all a very happy and healthy end to 2016 and beginning of 2017!  

Cheers!!!!

Oh and that big life change I mentioned earlier???….it will be making it’s sweet debut June 2017!! 🙂

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An Eye (and Envy) for Detail

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Which came first for me? Learning to sew by hand or by machine?  I’m sitting here trying to remember….I think it was by hand first?  Maybe?  Regardless, when I did learn to sew by hand, I remember as a young girl, sitting as patiently as possible with some old scrap of calico, trying to get my stitches as even and neat as possible.  You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder had to do when she was a child.  I remember really struggling with not bunching up the thread on the back side of the fabric, and trying to make sure knots didn’t form on the thread itself….it was a very stressful experience! 🙂  But, like so many things in life, the more practice and time I put in, the easier and better looking my hand sewing became.

This is why when I see any examples of hand sewing so stunning that one questions if a machine did it, it makes me simply giddy with envy and happiness.  Whoever that person was who created that magnificent item, valued and understood the importance of practice, practice, practice.  A needed skill and character trait that is so important when trying to better oneself.  I’ve collected four pictures of such garments that really show the skill and detail of really, I mean really, high quality hand sewing!

Let’s begin with this late 1700’s bodice.  I mean, look at all that hand detail!  The stitches, the curves, the ruffles….. absolutely gorgeous!! 

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These stays also show the skill and hand strength needed to create small, identical stitches through very stiff fabric and boning!

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The back of this bodice also shows the delicate hand stitching that can really take a garment up to the next level:

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And of course, the most amazing of all is this 1820’s bonnet, complete with tatting, that shows not only a person’s skill, but the needed height to accommodate the hairstyle of the period!

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Even in the age of computerized sewing machines, high quality hand sewing is still a much needed and much appreciated skill!

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A Regency Era Photoshoot

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What do you get when you take two friends, a plethora of historical gowns, and two large Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  A wonderfully fun time with some fabulous pictures to prove it!

 A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to photograph a large portion of my historical gown stock using real life models.  So armed with a fully charged camera, my friend Cassandra and I braved the rainy and slightly chilly elements over the past two weekends to photograph some really stunning images!  And since there are so many pictures to see, I will just get right to it!!  

I hope you enjoy!!!

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Oh and one last picture of Cassandra discovering the most perfect fall leaf of all….lovingly named “Leif Erikson”

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All of these gowns are available on my Etsy Shop!

I hope you enjoyed these photos as they were an absolute delight to take!

Have a fabulous Monday!!

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How to Create a Skirt Placket

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Knowing how to create a skirt placket is a very easy, yet very vital skill when it comes to sewing.  Whether you sew historical pieces, vintage or modern, a properly sewn placket adds a crisp and tailored look!

Begin by taking a 4 inch wide piece of fabric and cut it as as long as you need. I usually cut my plackets 4″ x 10″, but it is up to you. Then press down the top of one long side.

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Now this part is the key to a properly constructed placket!  Take your skirt and identify where you want the placket: center back, side, front.  Cut the skirt half the measurement of the placket. For example, I will have my cut go down 5″.  Then pin the placket to the edge of this cut, right sides together.   Line up the raw edges until around 2″ on either side of the middle of the cut, then begin to pin the placket 1/4″ above the skirt.  See the pictures below…the skirt is on top of the placket.

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This is what will allow the placket to hang properly.  Go ahead and stitch a 1/4″ seam along the entire placket – however, note that the skirt will barely have any seam allowance the closer you get to the center of the skirt.

Now, press the placket in half towards the inside and stitch the folded edge over the raw edge of the skirt.

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Then, fold the skirt right sides together and stitch a diagonal line across the bottom of the folded placket.

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And that’s it!  

Notice how the placket naturally falls with one side laying over the other.  Baste the side that lays on top of the other placket down along the top and continue your skirt as desired!

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Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial!

Have a wonderful day!

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A Photography Session in the Woods…

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After a solid week of sewing for 12 hours a day, I was able to meet my goal of sewing seven Regency Era pieces!  It was a big accomplishment and one not likely to be tried again…at least for a few weeks! 🙂  

After finishing all these pieces, I really wanted to take their pictures outside.  Up to this point, all pictures of my gowns have been taken in my sewing studio, but this time, I wanted something different.  Not to far from my house is a little park that I knew would be the perfect place.  So early one morning, I loaded up my car and took off for a little adventure.  Despite the fact I really should have worn boots (mud galore), the overall experience was wonderful, and I am very pleased with my first attempt at outdoor photography!

I hope you enjoy!

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Have a wonderful day everyone!!

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Using Patterns from Books

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This week we will complete the sewing patterns series by focusing on patterns one can create from books.  Once I began delving into this type of pattern creation and design, my sewing really began to flourish!  While it may seem daunting and a little confusing at first, with a little time, patience, and some discount fabric, pattern creation from books can be extremely rewarding!

In today’s video I will cover:

  • The differences between patterns from a book versus a ready made pattern
  • My favorite historical fashion books ( list and links will be under the video)
  • How to create and store your patterns
  • Pros and Cons of sewing from books
Alright, let’s get started!

My Favorite Historical Pattern Books

17th Century Women’s Dress Patterns Volume 2

Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion Series

The Voice of Fashion: 79 Turn of the Century Patterns

The One Hour Dress – My Post on a Mockup of the One Hour Dress

Dress Cutting – 1930’s Patterns

Aimee’s Vintage Armoire: 1940-1950

Oh and those hooks I couldn’t think of….I meant Command hooks! 🙂

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I hope you have enjoyed learning more about pattern drafting from books!
Feel free to share with me any creations you have or plan to make from any these books!  I would love to see them! 🙂

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Intro to Sewing Video Series: Intro to PDF Patterns

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Today’s topic may either instill excitement or dread: print-out-your-own PDF patterns!  Perhaps you have never tried, or perhaps you have had limited luck, or perhaps you are one of those lucky few who have had nothing but success.  Either way, today is all about helping you understand this wonderful sewing pattern option.

In today’s video I will discuss the following topics:

  • What are PDF or downloadable patterns
  • How to store these patterns
  • Digital patterns
  • Pros and Cons of PDF patterns

And just like last week, I will list out my favorite PDF/Digital pattern companies and their links below this video.

Enjoy!

My Favorite PDF/Digital Pattern Companies

Sensibility Patterns

Mrs. Depew

E Vintage Patterns

Wearing History E-Patterns

Aimee’s Victorian Armoire

Please remember to read out all the instructions of how to create the patterns BEFORE purchasing.  That way you can try to avoid an unhappy experience.

My Tricks of the Trade on How to Assemble and Work with PDF Patterns

  1. Read all instructions BEFORE printing out the pattern.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of ink and paper in your printer…..I am ashamed to say I have been surprised too many times by not properly checking the paper tray of my printer.
  3. Make sure all symbols or shapes line up before you tape!
  4. Use small pieces of tape first before you use larger pieces.  Sometimes using too large of a piece can cause the paper to twist or move.
  5. Recycle any papers that do not have a pattern shape on it.  Sometimes I can have 8-10 blank pieces and so I simply reuse them on the next pattern project.
  6. Fit the paper pattern to a dress form to check for fit and accuracy.
  7. Understand (and accept) that at least one mockup will be required to work out any kinks.
  8. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the extra savings!!! 🙂

While creating with PDF patterns can have their negative moments, they are such a wonderful, affordable, and instant way to increase your sewing and historical/vintage wardrobe.

Happy Sewing!

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Next Week: Intro to Creating Patterns from Books


Intro to Sewing Video Series: Paper Patterns

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Hello my friends!

Today we start the first part of a three part series focusing on the many ways to find, create, understand, and store sewing patterns.  In this ten minute video, I will focus on the following topics:

  • How to read the back of commercial sewing patterns
  • How to care for and store commercial sewing patterns
  • How to read and store historical sewing patterns from specialized pattern companies
  • Tips to remember when working with vintage patterns
  • The Pros and Cons for purchasing, working with, and storing paper patterns

My favorite paper pattern companies are listed below this video!

Commercial Patterns

Simplicity Patterns

McCalls Patterns

Butterick Patterns

Vogue Patterns

Historical Sewing Patterns

Period Impressions

Past Patterns

Sense and Sensibility Patterns

Laughing Moon Mercantile

I hope this has helped you understand the major differences and similarities of paper patterns, along with a few different ways to keep track of everything! 🙂

Next Friday’s video, will focus on downloadable PDF sewing patterns!

Have a wonderful day!

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