Deconstructing a Dress

dress cover

How many times have you spent looking for that perfect item to create?  And after much time searching, you finally find it and can’t wait to get started!  You sit down with your sewing machine, fabric, and cup of coffee and then you realize….you don’t have a pattern.  Perhaps you have something similar that you could adapt, but you just aren’t sure what the pieces should look like.

Don’t worry!  

It isn’t hard to figure out what pieces you will need to complete that most perfect ensemble!  Simply take some time to really analyze all areas of the dress and you will be surprised at how quickly all the pieces will jump out at you!

Not sure what I mean?  Just follow along to learn how I deconstruct a vintage dress!!

To start with, you need to find the dress or garment you would like to create.  I have chosen this 1930’s dress:

deconstructing a dress

Once your choice is made, it is time to take a long hard look at all areas of the dress from top to bottom.

Below is the same picture, but with notes on the major areas of construction, along with shapes and details:

dress deconstruction

Taking all of these notes, I then would mock up a pattern of all the pieces I would need to create the dress.  Just like this…

dress pattern

From here, you can then begin adding your own measurements to the patterns, and begin the fun process of completing your chosen garment!

Later on this month, I will show you how to take drawn-out patterns like this, and create full-size custom pieces based on your measurements!!

 

So don’t just let that most admired outfit remain on the page…let it come to life on you!!!

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Sewing Tip Saturday: Ways to Hem/Edge a Dress

Hemming a garment is something that has to be done if you want to avoid that strange stringy feeling twisted around your legs.

 The process itself is rather straightforward.  Fold up the desired amount, fold it again, pin, and stitch.  This skill can be applied to the bottoms of dresses, skirts, sleeves, blouses, scarves, jackets…..you get the idea.

But, when it comes to sewing hems, there are so many ways to do it that it can become a unique and attractive aspect of the final creation.

Here are a few ways to hem/edge your next historical dress:

Sewing Tip hems

 

Looking for other helpful sewing tips?  Feel free to check out my Sewing Tip Saturday Page!


Sewing Tip Saturday: Collars Part Two

With a basic understanding of attaching a collar to a neckline, I thought I would share some basic patterns.  Please note that these patterns are true-to-size, however may need to be adjusted based on your own measurements.

Peter Pan A.K.A. Round Collar

Example:

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Sample Pattern:

Peter Pan Collar Pattern

** Round the front of the collar as much as you like to create various looks.

Pointed Collar

Example:

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Sample Pattern:

Pointed Collar Pattern

A Stand Up/Self Collar

An Example:

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Sample Pattern:

Stand Up Collar Pattern

 

Try one or try them all!

Good luck!

~Aimee

Sewing Tip Saturday: Collars Part One

As one of the easiest aspects of bodice making, collars come in as many shapes and styles as one can imagine.  The majority of collars are stitched in the same way so it makes it very easy to play around and try various styles.

Here are some great examples of collars:

Collar Examples

Here is a basic tutorial for attaching a pointed and/or Peter Pan (rounded) collar:

Basic collar tutorial

The trick is to make sure that your whipstitch can only be seen on the inside of the garment.

Add interfacing for a stiffer collar or change up materials to add interest and contrast to your creation!

The possibilities are truly endless!

Next Time:  Collar Patterns


Introduction to Tucks: Part Two

Last time we discussed the basic two types of tucks along with several examples.  Now for my favorite type: the shell tuck.

I came across this particular tuck in one of my 1940’s sewing books.  I had personally never seen it before, nor was I able to find any examples of this tuck in use.  However, I was so enchanted by the design, and the relative easiness of the process, I had to include it!

Let’s bring back the shell tuck!!

Shell tuck Tutorial

Now, go and tuck!  🙂

~Aimee


Introduction to Tucks: Part One

I love the look of tucks on a dress.  I find the look to be so sweet and elegant, and are surprisingly very easy to create.  All you need is a steady hand and a little bit of patience.  The most common types of tucks are the basic tuck, the corded tuck, and the lesser known shell tuck.

Here are a few examples:

Tuck Examples

This week we will learn how to make a basic tuck and a corded tuck, starting with a basic tuck.

The basic tuck can be created either vertically or horizontally to add interest or take up extra length on a skirt.  This tuck can be used on any year of historical sewing.

The corded tuck adds some weight to garments and is often found on petticoats.

The only rule of thumb for any type of tuck is to make sure you add in extra fabric when you cut out your pattern to accommodate the tucks.

Basic Tuck and Corded Tuck Tutorial

Next post: Making a Shell Tuck


Introduction to Darts: Part Two

Now that we have learned the basic way to make a dart, here are two more advanced, yet very common types of darts: the body dart and the tuck dart.

The body dart is most often used for one piece dresses, as well as fitted jackets. Instead of have a triangle shape like the basic dart, the body dart has a diamond shape.  I find that I use this dart the most with historical sewing.

The tuck dart, or inverted tuck, is a basic dart turned upside down.  This creates more fullness at the top and is most often seen in vintage sewing (1930’s-1950’s) right below the bust line.

Here are the steps to create these two darts, starting with the body dart.

Body and Tuck Darts Tutorial

Here again are several examples of darts on historical clothing…

Dart Examples

There are so many types of darts to learn, but these will definitely get you on the right path to a better fit!

Happy Weekend!

~Aimee

Next month: Introduction to Tucks


Introduction to Darts: Part One

Darts have to be my most favorite sewing technique hands down.  It has saved many a bodice from being a disaster with it’s ability to curve and alter the design.  Darts can be used to take in extra fullness at the waist, the shoulder, the elbow, and even over the hips.

Here are some examples:

Dart Examples

This week, I have provided a visual tutorial for the basic dart.  This is great for the tops of skirts, or bodices.

With a little practice, you will soon be darting everything in sight!

Basic Dart Tutorial

Next time, I will show you how to create body darts as well as the dart tuck or inverted dart.

Have a wonderful weekend!

~Aimee