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- Blog by Kit -

Author Archives: Chiaretta di Fiore

Daily Planner Downloads

I just finished creating a set of daily planner pages for my planner that I almost never use. But I want to share them here with you all. The downloads are free, but you need to be registered to download. Registration is also free, and easy!


The 2020 and 2021 colorful planner pages are available in month-only or weekly-planner format. Major US holidays are pre-filled, with weeks beginning on Monday. Pages are letter sized and can be printed to custom sizes using your PDF reader software.


Here are samples of the pages in the sets.


Please make sure you are a logged-in subscriber to access the free download (below).


Comment if you want this set published with weeks beginning on Sunday or in a specific page size.


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Posted in Sewing Tools| Tagged |

Tracing Rounded Corners with a Coin

I recently recorded a video tutorial on how to use a coin to trace perfectly rounded corners for neat stitch lines. Check it out below:

Posted in Sewing Tools, Tutorials| Tagged |

Introducing My Youtube Debut!

I have taken a huge leap and made my very first Youtube video! I wanted to share it here so my followers can check it out. I’ve never worn fake eyelashes before, but I bought magnetic lashes after watching a bunch of videos and decided to try them out, on camera! You can watch the video here.

Posted in Makeup| Tagged , |

“Glow Up” Photoshoot

Today, I did a little “Glow Up” photoshoot. I took hundreds of photographs of myself and narrowed them down to these two shots of before and after. 

Both outfits were made in April 2020 during the Coronavirus self-quarantine. I used Advance Sew-Easy 9616 in size 14 for the coral shortie pajamas and Charm Patterns Jane Set in size 6C for the playsuit. I’ve made 2 playsuits from the Jane Set pattern so far and I think I need to lengthen the crotch rise a bit in the future because both turned out snugger than I prefer.

I’m also super proud for doing a wet set and brush out into a decent style for the first time.

Have you been on a sewing kick in quarantine? I’ve been blazing through projects faster than I can document them!

Copying A Lady Marlene Strapless Bra

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I haven’t been idle. Hopefully I can get pictures of some of the fun projects here soon, but in the meantime, I decided to try to copy my black Lady Marlene strapless bra. I recently received a white 1950s Lady Marlene bra, which unfortunately doesn’t fit, but now I can compare it to my black Lady Marlene bra. I’m guessing the black bra to be from around the 70s, but the construction and materials are very similar between the two.

To get started, I googled how to copy existing clothing and foound a whole variety of methods. I didn’t really follow any, I just used a few tips from this one and some from that one. I laid down a cardboard box on my work area, then spread swedish tracing paper over the top. I used a ruler to mark a vertical line for the center seam, and a horizontal line for the lower edge. 

Swedish tracing paper is a patterning paper that is sewable, sort of similar to interfacing in consistency. It’s great for sewing a pattern to test fit or construction. I ordered mine from Amazon by searching for Swedish tracing paper. The brand I purchased is sold out at this time, but here’s a link anyway.

I aligned the center front seam of the bra along the vertical line and used straight pins to tack the seam into the line, stabbing into the cardboard box. From there, I smoothed (not stretched) out the bra along the horizontal line, pinning the lower edge up against the line. I smoothed the upper half of the bra until the side seam of the lace was perpendicular to the lower edge and pinned a few spots to secure it in place. I worked from the center outwards, but only took detailed photos of the side lace panel. At this point, I stabbed pins through the exact edge of the panel, right at the seam lines, all the way around the side panel.

I determined that the side seam needed to be perpendicular to the lower edge by examining the grain of the lining fabric. In addition, this seam is straight up and down when worn and appears perpendicular to the lower edge.

After that, I removed the pins, bra, and pattern paper. I connected the lines using a ruler and pen, smoothing any bumps. Then I cut out the pattern piece and laid all of the pieces out side by side. I made markings to match the pieces in order. Next I added 5/8″ seam allowance to each piece and cut it out again.

I used 5/8″ initially, but trimmed each piece down to 1/4″ after constructing my mockup.

I could have added seam allowance before cutting the piece out the first time, but I didn’t think about it until later. I laid my pieces out again with SA and marked the order again.

I carefully looked over the existing bras to determine the most likely order of construction. I began by sewing the lower bust pieces together, then the upper bust to the assembled lower bust. Next, I sewed the center front to the bust pieces, followed by the other side of the bust. I sewed the side panel to the assembled pieces and lastly, the back panel.

At this point, I checked for any weirdness and adjusted the lower bust panel pieces to the correct length. (I think I used the wrong side of the bust seam when I pin-traced this area.) Then, I had a final pattern to make a mockup.

Have you tried to copy an existing garment before, especially bras? Do you use a different method? Do you have any hints for construction? 

Posted in General| Tagged , |

Simplicity 8510 Tap Panties

Hello out there! I’ve been very busy this past month, but I have managed to get some sewing done. Expect to see several posts soon about the playsuits I’ve been working on. This post is going to focus on the tap panties I’ve made over the past few weeks.

Simplicity 8510

I used Simplicity 8510, first in size 12, which seemed too tight, then I tried size 14, which was definitely too loose.

Pair #1, View B, was made with some random silky fabric which was spray starched to add some body. I would like to make another pair from this fabric, but next time I will dip-starch it so it doesn’t slide around so much! Pair #2, View C, is rayon challis which is soft and very wrinkly. Pair #3, View C, is another stash fabric that feels similar to the challis, but with a flocked velvety design printed on it. I used cotton bias binding for the waistband for contrast.

Silky printed panties

Challis panties

Print panties

Bias bound waistband

The hems on #1 and #3 came out much better using the hem tape, whereas #2 was a double folded hem.

Silky hem tape

Challis hem

Print hem tape

1940s Vintage Suit, Post Five

Hello out there! At this point, the suit jacket has been finished for a few days, and the skirt went together so smoothly that I forgot to take progress pictures! This fabric was a pleasure to work with and may look even better on the skirt than the jacket. I was so satisfied with how crisply the hem pressed, but I suppose the waist band could use a good pressing, since it’s not very crisp, comparatively.

Skirt back

I made a size 12, instead of the size 10 of the jacket, to make sure the waist wasn’t tight. The jacket is snug in the waist, but not uncomfortably so. Still, with a 25″ waist (plus ease) for size 10, I thought it safer to do the 26 1/2″ size 12 for my 28″ waist. It fits comfortably, so it was a good risk to take, even though I didn’t make a mockup and probably wouldn’t find more material. As it was, I was able to find a 3/4 yard remnant at Joann’s which was enough for half the skirt, plus the remaining material from the jacket for the other half.

Skirt front

Skirt side

The front panels are significantly smaller than the back panels, which adds some extra floof at the back, like the jacket. I haven’t taken a picture with the full outfit yet and neglected to look at the back when I had it on for marking the hem, so I’m not sure how this looks, really.

I’m pretty proud of myself for managing a pretty good invisible zipper with a regular zipper foot! I used this tutorial and it went smoothly. If I were using a thinner fabric, the zipper would have shown a bit, but this fabric hides it nicely.

Invisible zipper

I added 2″ horsehair braid to the entire hem to help it flare out nicely. I used the same methods from the jacket, except I basted the bottom edge of the braid to the hem facing, rather than the skirt itself. This was in case my basting stitches showed, since they were kinda sloppy late at night. The hem was long enough on me that I have a full two inches turned up on the inside, facing the hem. Then I catch-stitched the hem in place, nearly invisibly, and pressed.

Hem facing

So that’s it for the suit. I will wear it next week for a presentation at a national academic conference. I plan on continuing to wear my vintage style the entire week, but I’ll pick the looks that “blend in” a little better.

Next up is a blouse to wear with this suit. It doesn’t technically need a blouse, just a cami, since the blouse won’t be visible with the jacket on, but I want to be able to remove the jacket and dress down after the presentation. I already have the fabric and the pattern, I just need the time to make it before I leave on Friday.

Here are the links to the previous posts:

1940s Vintage Suit, Post Four

1940s Vintage Suit, Part Three

1940s Vintage Suit, Part Two

1940s Vintage Suit

1940s Vintage Suit, Post Four

We left off with sleeves set into the jacket using an awesome trick by Gertie. Today, I had to finish the facing behind the bound buttonholes so my buttons could reach the front. I did this by the age-old “finagle” method. I cut the lips of the bound buttonholes open, cut a slit in the facing and whipped the edges under as best I could. The directions said to baste around the buttonhole, slash facing and hem the edge to the buttonhole. I wasn’t sure what they meant, so I interpreted it my own way. Of course, I later realized that Gertie’s subsequent “Lady Grey” post covered how exactly to finish the buttonholes, which would have been helpful.

I only opened the facing at the four “real” buttonholes. For the other four buttonholes, the “fake” ones, I sewed the button to the inside of the facing and pushed it through the exterior buttonhole so it looked as real as possible with all 8 buttons in place.

Facing inside

Buttons in place

Nearly finished front

At this point, I did a test fitting to make sure the buttons were not too difficult to button. It was no problem, but I noticed the back of the peplum hung a bit limply.


I unpicked the catch stitch holding the facing in place and added a 2″ horse hair braid along the bottom edge to give it a little more body. Again, this is a trick I learned from Gertie’s awesome blog! I basted the bottom edge of the braid in place, tightened the drawstring and then used a catch stitch to hold the top edge in place. Then I redid the catch stitch holding the facing in place.

Facing & horsehair braid


All that is left for the jacket is the sleeves, so I washed and dried my fabric for the sleeves, then spray starched it heavily so it wouldn’t be so darn slippery. In the end, because the fabric was so slippery and thin, I decided to interface it, which made everything much easier.


The directions were pretty clear about assembly, so I just zipped up the seams as directed, sewed in a few buttonholes, stitched the buttons onto the wrists, and BAM! the jacket was finished!

Finished jacket

Next up, the skirt. How do you like it so far?

1940s Vintage Suit, Part Three

Here I am at my third post of this suit. At this rate, there will be several more such posts. Wednesday was a snow day. Rather, it was supposed to be a snow day, but there was no snow. I meant to use the snow day as an opportunity to make some great progress on my suit, but lo and behold, I have been stalled by lack of thread.

As I sat down to sew, I noticed how little thread I had left, but I was ready to sew! I didn’t want to go to the store for thread. So I used up the rest of the spool, then found a bobbin of matching pink thread and sewed until I used that up too. After that, I switched colors and continued on in beige!

For today’s work, I had to assemble the facing and stitch it to the jacket. The facing steps involved sewing a 1/4″ from the unnotched, or inside, edge, then pressing that under and topstitching to prevent the edge from fraying.


Then the facing had to be stitched to the jacket, which is when I ran out of thread the first time. I found the pink bobbin and continued stitching.

Facing In Progress

Next was understitching the facing and it went very smoothly because I decided to use my edge stitching foot to guide me. Usually my understitching is sloppy and crooked, but this time it came out nice and neat! Turn and press.


After that, I had to tack the facing at the shoulders and catch stitch the facing at the hem. This took longer than I thought it would, but I was able to bury the stitches into the weave of the fabric so they’re not visible from the outside.

(No picture because it’s invisible!)

I began on the sleeves by stitching the darts, closing the sleeve and stitching hem tape to the wrist. I later then used a catch stitch to sew down the sleeve hem.

Sleeve darts

Assembled Sleeve

Around this time, I remembered seeing a post by Gertie about setting a sleeve into a jacket. I went looking for it and found a method of using a wool strip to shape the sleevehead and puff the sleeve cap slightly. I pulled out the two rows of gathering stitches I had already done and redid my sleevehead using her method and a bias strip of pink coat weight wool I had handy.

Sleeve cap

That was as much as I got finished last week. So what do you think? Do you prefer posts of moderate chunks like this? Or all-in-one finished project posts?


Yesterday I was up bright and early after a super late night working on this suit. I’m already back at it and have cut out the remaining fashion fabric pieces, overcast them, and stitched the back and sides together. I did run into a snag last ight, where I couldn’t cut all 8 pieces from one width of fabric, so I repeated the tracing of a single thread for the waistline, then aligned my pieces to the waistline. It’s not really pattern matching, but now that I’ve seen the back finished, I think it was worthwhile to achieve a tidy look.

Jacket Back Right Side

Jacket Back Inside

I forgot to do step 1, stay stitching, before sewing the backs together, so then I did my stay stitching next. I’m all out of order, because step 2 is the buttonholes that I did last night. I used a 1/2″ wide strip of fusible interfacing instead of stay stitching.

Stay Tape

After catching up with the stay tape, I sewed the fronts and sides together and I think it’s looking pretty good!

Jacket Right Side

Jacket Inside

I tried it on and it fits! Well, at least, it will when it has buttons, it’s just pinned in place for now, but it feels great. Here’s an obligatory mirror selfie:

Mirror, Mirror!

Today, I cut the facings out of my fashion fabric and fusable interfacing. After I cut out one facing, I remembered that I prefer to trace onto the interfacing then fuse, then cut out the fashion fabric. The reason for this is because the interfacing is the most stable fabric, so the markings are most accurate. Also, the notches end up beneath the interfacing, so you can’t see them (even if I weren’t using heat eraseable pen which will erase them when I fuse anyway). Also, the facing and interfacing are never exactly the same, so I end up cutting away random bits which makes a much bigger mess.

Trimming Excess

So I used fine point sharpie to trace the patterns onto the non-fusing side of the interfacing, then fused to my fabric, then cut out the patterns. Much better.

Fused Interfacing

Up next is assembling the facings, then the sleeves, finishing the jacket, and lastly, making the detachable cuffs. Then it’s on to the skirt!

What do you think so far? Have you made this pattern before? If so, please share pictures!