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- Blog by Kit -

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┬áThe 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! ­čÖé┬áNow 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.┬áI 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┬áimprovised 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

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┬ó 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|

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.)

Posted in General| Tagged |

Sassy Librarian Blouse #3 Sneak Peek

As I mentioned a few days ago, I started a third Sassy Librarian Blouse. My previous two were made from quilting cotton which gave the pattern a nice crisp look. This time I wanted to see how the pattern draped in chiffon.

Since the fabric is all sorts of slinky, I hung the fabric over my shower curtain rod and starched it first. I recently discovered these awesome pump action spray bottles (at the hairdresser) that provides a continuous spray, similar to an aerosol.

Continuous mist spray bottle

I added liquid starch and just a bit of water (maybe 4:1 or 5:1 starch to water), sprayed my fabric thoroughly, then left it to dry. The fabric still slipped a ton, but it’s much stiffer than it started, making it easier to work with.

As many of you know, it’s best to customize your marking tools to the fabric. Due to the slipperyness of this fabric, I used washable Crayola markers to mark it. The markers barely need to touch the fabric to leave a mark, so there’s less shifting the fabric out of place each time you mark, and I haven’t had problems washing the marker out (along with the starch) after I finish the project.

At this point, I need to bind the armhole, close up the sides, hem, and then add buttons and holes. Sounds so easy, but it’s probably a few more hours of work to go before it’s ready for wash and wear. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of the blouse.

Front in progress

Back in progress

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