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Category Archives: Patterns

“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!

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!

1940s Vintage Suit

Today, I’m going to try something different. I’ve been blogging as I finish a post and get good pictures, but for this next project, I’m going to try updating as I go along. It’s not quite a tutorial, but more like useful tricks that you may not know.

The pattern I’m using is Simplicity 8242. I did a mockup in size 14, for my 36″ bust, but after I had cut all the pieces, I found that the pattern envelope indicated that the ease is 3.5″(!), and the finished bust measurement of size 14 is 39.5″. I finished my mockup anyway, and it was huge. The finished bust of size 10 is 36″, which should fit over my longline bra, slimming camisole, and blouse (35″ bust).

Simplicity 8242

I’m using what I believe is a tweed, of unknown origin. I’m assuming it’s some sort of synthetic because of the shine, which is lovely. To start tracing my pattern pieces, I first drew a line on my pattern 1″ above the waistline markings to shorten the waist for my height. Then I traced a weft thread across the cross grain on the back side of the fabric with my favorite Pilot Frixion heat eraseable pen.

Lining up the pattern

I traced and cut the first piece, then flipped it over and lined the waist line up again to cut the other side. After this, I immediately sewed an overcast stitch around the entire piece because fabrics like this tend to fray with even slight handling, I’ve learned.


After the overcasting, I began the bound buttonholes. The pattern calls for 4 bound buttonholes down the center front with faux buttons to the outside, but I decided to do 8 bound buttonholes and thus, 8 buttons, instead. I practiced on muslin using the pattern instructions and the result wasn’t great.

Test #1

Then I remembered seeing a tutorial for bound buttonholes by Gertie on her (old) blog. This method was much better, but alas, I didn’t have matching organza, so I used white voile for similar effect. Unless someone is getting up close to my buttons, no one should notice.

Test #2

I applied interfacing to the back side of my buttonholes, and quickly realized that the heat eraseable pens, so convenient elsewhere, were not appropriate for these markings. I traced over the lines onto the interfacing with a disappearing ink pen, then steamed the interfacing to the fashion fabric.

Initial markings

Markings on interface

I sewed the first buttonhole according to Gertie’s instructions, and it came out ok. Fortunately, it’s the bottom most buttonhole, so again, no one should notice.

Buttonhole #1

After my initial buttonhole, I decided to group like tasks for expediency (as I’ve recently learned from The Modern Maker’s books on 16th-17th century tailoring). Instead of completing each buttonhole then the next, I stitched all of the voile down, then assembled the lips of the buttonhole.

Buttonhole “lips”

I pulled the voile through and pressed exuberantly. I positioned the lips in place trying various methods of pinning them straight and even. The top most buttonhole came out relatively even, progressing from bottom to top.

Buttonhole #4

Then I had to do it all again for the center front row of buttonholes. These turned out better, overall, but once more, no one is ever going to notice! 🙂 Now I’m feeling a bit sad to have worked so hard on them, but at least I have gained +1 in bound buttonholes.

Finished buttonholes

Best buttonholes from top left

Have you made bound buttonholes? What method did you use? Was it easier or make better looking buttonholes than mine? Also, is this fabric, in fact, tweed? I always think of tweed as the old professor jacket with the leather patches….

Floral Tie Blouse

I’ve been slow to post this project because I forgot to take a picture while I was wearing it! So today, I received a new book in the mail called “Retro Makeup” by Lauren Rennells. I decided to test a look and whoa, did it seriously up my vintage game! I looked so good that I knew it was the perfect time to get a picture of my new blouse. Ever have that moment when you look in the mirror and say “wow” at yourself? This was it!

But really, this post is about the blouse, which has the most confusing pattern piece shape I’ve ever seen.

Front, somehow

Even now, I’m not sure which way is up…

Despite my confusion over just how this piece was supposed to go, McCall’s M7053 went together quite easily when I followed the instructions. Mostly. Instead of hemming the tie, I decided to bind it with red linen scraps. It took a while to figure out where to bind, but I managed to bind just the neckline and the tie, so it worked out in the end.


I must say though, that I’ve never made such nice binding before! I made the strips from scrap red linen, and sewed it to the “right” side first, then pressed it to the back and used my stitch in the ditch foot to sew the wrong side down.

Bias binding

I even managed mitered acute corners! (Way harder than right angle corners, btw).

Mitered corners

I got so absorbed in the project that I failed to take any more pictures, but here’s the finished blouse!

Finished blouse


The whole outfit

Posted in 7053 Blouse, McCalls, Patterns| Tagged |

’40s-Style Wide-Leg Pant

So I posted a bit about these pants, but here’s the details of the construction. I started with the cigarette pants pattern from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book, then followed the directions for the ’40s-style wide-leg pant variation. I traced the pattern onto clear vinyl, then traced that pattern onto the pre-washed fabric.

GSVC Cigarette Pants Pattern

I followed the variation directions to widen the pants and construct the cuffs and waistband. I quickly realized that I failed to compensate for the cigarette pants’ pockets when I decided not to have pockets on my wide-legged pants. I made faux-pockets by attaching the pant side in the correct place, then turning under the edge of the pocket opening and topstitching it down.

Faux-pocket right side

Faux-pocket wrong side

After I extended the front panels, the assembly went smoothly, even the zipper! I’ve only inserted a few zippers to date, so I followed the book’s instructions for a centered zipper. It came out much neater than my previous attempts, though it’s still not perfect. I roughly followed the instructions for the waistband because I was already improvising when I cut the waistband so wide, so I couldn’t follow the instructions to the T.

Waistband & centered zipper

Waistband closure

With the waistband finished, I could check the length of the pants and shorten them (by 3 inches because I’m a midget). Then I started on the cuffs, where I improvised heavily after following the patternmaking instructions. This was again my own fault because I hadn’t read the instructions fully and thus got confused. What I ended up doing was sewing the outside of the pant fully, then sewing only half of the inside seam so I had room to insert the cuff into the seam.

Again, these steps were totally made up… I pressed down the top edge of the cuff and used iron on interfacing over the raw edge. I suppose I could have just stitched it in place, but I was improvising pretty hard core at this point.

Cuff interfacing

The cuff was laid right side to the wrong side of the pant and the bottom edge sewn.

Attached cuff

Then I pressed the seam allowances to the right side of the pant to understitch the seam. Lastly, I zigzagged the seam allowances together to reduce fraying.


I turned and pressed the cuff and sewed the sides of the cuff to the pant and looked proudly at my pant leg….

Uneven hem

Well, yay. I unpicked all that stitching and leveled the hem, then redid all those steps successfully. Then I finished the inner leg seam, integrating the cuffs into the seam.

Even hem!

Since pants have two legs, I did the sewing, understitching, zigzagging and finishing the leg seam all over again.

Finished cuffs

At this point, I finished up a self-covered belt, did my hair and makeup and posed for the camera.

Trying to be sassy










There are some things I would like to change for my next pair of pants with this pattern. I would shorten the pattern before widening the pants for a better fit, and add a touch of ease in the hips. I’d also redistribute the 4″ of added width to add more width to the outside of the leg (3″) and less to the inside (1″) to help it hang nicer.

What do you think? Have you tried this pattern variation?

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.


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

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