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Category Archives: General

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.

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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? 

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Gertie Sews Vintage Casual Review

Today, I finished my first item from Gretchen Hirsch’s book, “Gertie Sews Vintage Casual” (GSVC for short). I’ve never seen a book of patterns like this, but I don’t have a whole lot of experience, so I don’t know if this book concept is groundbreaking or not, but I think I like it!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

Part one of the book teaches you skills to construct the garments within, and is pretty handy for learning sewing in general.

Contents

Part two features 10 basic garment patterns and variations to produce other garments, totalling 35 possible garments.

List of Patterns

In the back of the book is an envelope holding the basic patterns, multi-sized from sizes 2 – 16.

Pattern Envelope

The measurements are tucked away inside the book, but they seem accurate so far. I sewed a size 6 pant for my 28″ waist and it’s spot on.

Size Chart

For my first project, I decided to sew the ’40s-style wide-leg pant, a variation of the cigarette pants pattern. It would probably have been easier to start with the basic pattern, but I never said I made things easy.

40s-Style Wide-Leg Pants

The patterns are printed on heavy paper on both sides, sometimes overlapping, so the patterns must be traced for use. I used clear vinyl sheeting (often used to protect delicate tablecloths) and a sharpie to trace the size 6 pattern for the cigarette pants.

Cigarette Pants Pattern

I then traced the pattern onto my pre-washed fabric and followed the variation directions to widen the legs for the ’40s-style wide leg pant. The instructions then refer you to previous sections of the book to draft the waistband and cuffs to your desired width.

Pants in progress

From there, I followed the detailed directions for the cigarette pants to assemble the pants, jumping back to the variation instructions only when it was time for the cuffs and waistband, which were not part of the cigarette pants.

Although I did a fair amount of improvising on the waistband and cuffs, the instructions were clear and I sewed my best centered zipper to date following the book’s instructions!

Waistband & centered zipper

The pants came out pretty nice, and I’m looking forward to my next project from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual!

Wide-legged maroon pant

Getting Caught Up

Hello my friends! I’m so sorry to have abandoned you for three weeks, but I’ve been very busy with non-vintage things. I spent two rough weeks embroidering a Renaissance project which I then entered into a competition last Saturday. Then, I spent the past week recovering from my frenzied embroidery!

I did do some vintage sewing shopping, and I started a pair of slacks which will have their own post soon. I also went to a cute vintage looking salon and bought a stand and remote for my cell phone camera so I can take better pictures for this blog. Wow, I guess I did a lot more stuff than I realized. Perhaps the problem was just finding the time to write it all down! Here goes:

I bought a tripod for my camera and snapped a couple pictures to test it out. This is the diamond chiffon blouse, as I have dubbed Sassy Librarian Blouse #3.

Diamond chiffon blouse

I got my hair cut at this really cute vintage styled salon in a modern cut that would make vintage styles easier. She strongly discouraged doing an actual vintage cut because if I ever don’t wear it in a vintage style it will look really odd. Maybe next time I’ll go for it anyway.

 

Frenchie’s Hair Salon

Wearing vintage

I also started a pair of pants from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book (GSVC for short), but had to set them aside for my embroidery frenzy. Here’s a sneak preview, but I will post in depth about them, as well as the book, another day.

GSVC Pants

I bought some vintage style Vogue and McCalls patterns recently at a nice discount, and then today, I hit up the pattern sale at Joann Fabrics & Crafts for $0.99 Simplicity patterns and $1.99 Butterick patterns. I have been waiting impatiently for this sale so I could stock up on the Patterns by Gertie line by Butterick. I think I now have every vintage style pattern currently available by the major manufacturers. Yay!

Pattern Sale!

More patterns!

And finally, I bought some fun vintage looking fabric to use all these patterns with.

Fun fabrics!

Wow, was that a lot more than I thought!

Post Commenting

Hello out there!

As this is a young blog, I’m still fine tuning to learn what settings look and work best here. I noticed that the comments were too hard to find/use, so I have changed the settings so hopefully it’s less painful now. Have you tried to comment and been unable to find it? Or did the need to log in put you off? Please tell me below!

Also, I experienced difficulty testing the project planner downloads… I never received the password email when I attempted to sign up. I want to know if you have attempted to download the project planner yet. Did it work for you?

Have you had any other problems or questions about the blog? Post them below!

Posted in General|

Sassy Librarian Blouse #3 Completed

Sassy Librarian Blouse #3 is finished! The chiffon was much harder to work with than the quilting cotton, and honestly, I think I prefer the look of the cotton versions with this pattern. At this point, I have made all possible versions of the Sassy Librarian Blouse by Christine Haynes. With this one, I did the pintucks and sleeveless features of version 2, but included a collar from view 1. I rounded the ends of the collar to make it Peter Pan like, but I neglected to add seam allowance to the center back. Since I had an empty gap between the collar back, I added a little box pleat for interest.

Back in progress

As this was my first time making the sleeveless version, I was rather intrigued by the method of binding the armholes BEFORE closing the side seam. As directed, I sewed the binding to the right side from side seam to side seam. Then you sew up the side seam, including the binding, and have something like this.

Armhole binding

I had actually skipped my steps around before this part, to complete the center front buttons before the armholes. Then, when I reached this point, I was able to test fit the blouse and had to take the bust in by 1/4″ and let the waist out by 1/4″. If I hadn’t done the buttons first, I would have had to take the armhole apart to make the adjustments, later.

Once everything fit well, the rest of the binding was pretty typical, fold your seam allowance, line it up with your seam line and stitch in the ditch. I topstitched two lines of decorative stitching along the armband, to mimic the center front.

Decorative stitching on binding

Speaking of center front, it’s time to confess: the cute double rows of stitching on the pintuck were an accident. I made the initial tucks too narrow which made the blouse front too wide. I made a decision to stitch a second line of black stitches, rather than unpick the first line, and fortunately, it looks cute instead of like a mistake.

Diamond buttons

I used the same sheer silky material from the collar, backed with fusible interfacing, and made covered buttons, centering the diamond as best I could. The off center button was used at the bottom where it will be hidden by a waistband.

Once I finished sewing, it went into the washer and dryer to remove the washable marker lines, then I quickly wrapped a turban around my hair for the sake of pictures and here we have it! The finished Sassy Librarian Blouse #3!

Diamond chiffon blouse

What do you think? Were the diamond buttons a good choice or are they tacky?

Craftsy Affiliate Program

I’m addicted to Craftsy classes. You may have already noticed this, since nearly half of my 9 posts to date either mention the Sassy Librarian Blouse or include pictures of one of the 3 blouses I’ve made (so far). I also have two in-progress versions of the Flirty Day Dress, as well as one completed project that I haven’t posted here yet (hint, I modified it into a playsuit!)

Flirty Day Dress

In addition to my favorite classes above, I “own” another 8 classes, some of which I haven’t gotten around to making yet. I have the Iconic Tweed Jacket class, which I supplimented with a class on tailoring a jacket, and another on coatmaking techniques which has a vintage feel.

Iconic Tweed Jacket

I also have 3 excellent classes on bra making with Beverly Johnson, which I have used to sew two bras that look store bought… But too small for me. A third bra in the correct size is sadly just waiting for me to purchase and insert underwires to complete it, but I got distracted a few months ago when I started sewing a vintage wardrobe for work and winter.

My 10th class is on goldwork embroidery, for which the supplies have been ordered, but one key component is backordered. And I have way too many projects going at once to start this one.

 


 

So why am I telling you all this? Over the weekend, I signed up for Craftsy’s affilate program after noticing that a number of people clicked the Sassy Librarian Blouse link. With how often I am already linking to the site, I may as well make an occasional buck if someone chooses to purchase a class through my blog. I’m telling you this for transparency’s sake, so that if you choose to purchase a class, you are aware that I receive a commission.

You may notice that I didn’t litter this post with links just begging for you to click them. I don’t intend to change the way I link in order to make money. I will continue linking only when I think it will be helpful for anyone looking for the pattern or class, as I have done with all patterns mentioned so far. I am considering adding a button at the bottom of the sidebar in the future, because I really do love their classes, but I hope to add (unpaid) links to other vintage sewing resources in the future anyway.

I hope you don’t blame me for deciding to do this. Please let me know if you feel an affiliate link changes your enjoyment of The Vintage Sewing Kit.

 

If you’re keen to know the details of what I would make through this program, here’s the fine print:

Craftsy Affiliate Program Overview

  • 75% of first-time class* or DVD purchases by new customers (30-day cookie)
  • 15% of class* or DVD purchases by existing customers (5-day cookie)
  • 15% of physical product purchases by new customers (30-day cookie)
  • 4% of physical product purchases by existing customers (5-day cookie)
  • $15 Craftsy Unlimited monthly membership signup (10-day cookie)
  • $25 Craftsy Unlimited annual membership signup (10-day cookie)
  • $15 for referring a friend who is accepted into the affiliate program

(I added a link to the last one, because honestly, I could use the $15 if someone else loves Craftsy as much as I do.)

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Introduction

Hello! I’m Kit and I’ve been bitten by the vintage sewing bug.

I started wearing vintage with some purchased 50s-esque dresses and then started sewing vintage with one ordinary playsuit. Then another. Then a dress, some shirts, trousers… You get the picture. Since I purchased my first dress 8 months ago, I’ve been building a vintage-style wardrobe, roughly 1930-1960.

This blog is about my vintage sewing endeavors, though I may occasionally show off other vintage-style finds, like shoes or accessories.

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