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Category Archives: Simplicity

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….

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!

Simplicity Patterns On Sale!

How many patterns should one buy when patterns are on sale?

Simplicity Patterns

ALL THE PATTERNS, clearly. Joann Fabrics and Crafts is currently having their 99¢ Simplicity pattern sale, and I stocked up with all the patterns on my list. I can’t wait for the next Butterick pattern sale, because I have an even larger list of vintage/inspired patterns from them, especially the Gertie patterns.

Now help me: What should I make first??

Posted in Patterns, Simplicity|

Simplicity 8139 Modification into Playsuit

Simplicity 8139 Bathing Suit

Simplicity 8139 Bathing Suit

After the this summer’s failed attempts to find a romper that didn’t look awful on me (ugh elastic waist!), I decided to sew a vintage style playsuit. This was my first completed everyday clothing item, since I usually only sew Renaissance clothing for reenactment.

I used Simplicity’s pattern 8139 for a bathing suit and modified the skirt into a short, omitting the inner elastic leg shorts.
This was my first time EVER installing a zipper (Renaissance clothing didn’t have zippers) so I was very excited to have it look decent on my first try!

Center back zipper

The rest of the playsuit was simple to put together, but I could stand to shorten the straps slightly if I make it again. I’m short, so that’s not an uncommon problem. I’m also curious to try a full bust adjustment (FBA) and see how that changes the bodice.

Loose bodice front

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