Tag Archives: 1950s

Polka dot top: Sneak preview

The polka dot top is almost done. I was going to post progress on Sunday, but I only had the hand sewing left to do, so I wanted to wait until it was all done to do a full writeup.

The handsewing is taking a while. Since I’ve underlined everything, I’m stitching the sleeve facings, neck facing and hem with the catchstitch. This is the first time I’ve done a catchstitch. Boy, does that stitch eat up the thread! Every time I breathe, I’m rethreading my needle. I like the way it looks, however. I also have some snaps to stitch. I’ll be sewing them on with a buttonhole stitch. I don’t remember where I first saw a picture of a snap done with this stitch rather than a whipstitch, but it looked so professional. I knew I had to try it.

Full pictures, inside and out, coming in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at one detail I’m crazy about:

Look, I made a matching belt! I'm going to be doing a lot more of these. I may even have to lay in the supplies to put in the eyelets properly. How cool would that be?

Once I’m done with the coral outfit, I’ll finally be moving on to the Fall Palette Challenge. I’ve purchased the fabric and supplies for a wearable muslin of my next project. I’m as excited about the prospect of the wearable muslin as I am the actual project itself. Details on that soon as well.

A mystery, thwarted progress and a rescue mission

Off to my sewing area I went today with grand ideas of making major progress on the last few items to finish the polka dot top, starting with inserting the crochet lace trim and attaching the sleeve facings.

Only there was no crochet trim to be found. My first suspect was Sewing Assistant Teacup. Does he look guilty to you?

Who me?

I looked under all the furniture in the bedroom, and all I could find was about a dozen Nerf darts. Teacup LOVES those things. But, alas, no crochet trim. I felt a little guilty blaming Teacup with no evidence, so my current theory is that I accidentally threw it away with some minor scraps.

So, I regrouped and inserted the invisible zipper in the left side. I was relieved to find out you actually can insert an invisible zipper even if you have sewn the rest of the seam. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Even though the result is no better than with the skirt (I still didn’t bother to iron the zipper beforehand.), I’m happier with it. But I think that’s just because I was a little worried the waist seam was tight, but the pin fit was deceptive. With the zipper in, it’s fits perfectly.

Note to self: Pick zipper color like thread color. A little darker is better than lighter.

Then I overcast the hem allowance, and had just enough thread, with some sneaky bobbin-changing, to finish the edge all the way around. But then I was completely out of coral thread. So, I called it quits on sewing for the day.

But I still had a sewing-related task left. I’ve been going through my closet in spurts and starts, eliminating clothing that has hopeless stains. Two sweaters have to go, but not before I rescued their buttons. One set is mundane, but the other set was the nicest part of the sweater:

The sparkly ones will look awfully good on a blouse — soon, I hope.

I tied each set together with heavyweight button thread and put them in this cute faux vintage tin that houses my button collection:

I love faux vintage sewing tins — no rust!

So now that I’m out of thread AND trim, I’ll be heading to JoAnn’s to replenish both before I make any further progress on this project.

But the next project is a silk blouse. I got a little adventurous and decided to prewash the silk in my washing machine on the “handwash” cycle. I figured if I prewashed in the machine, I could wash it in the machine when it’s done. It’s in there right now, making me nervous. Wish me luck.

Polka dot top: Heading to the finish line

The polka dot top is close to done. Here is a peek at the most recent progress, which includes sewing the side seams and attaching the peplum:

Polka dot top

I might be able to finish this weekend.

There are just a few more things to do:

❦ Put in the invisible zipper, which will involve ripping out some stitching, as previously mentioned;

❦ Add the crochet lace trim and facings to the sleeves;

❦ Sew the hem;

❦ Catch stitch the facings; and

❦ Make a matching belt with covered buckle (with a kit from A Fashionable Stitch).

And voilà! It will be done.

It fits perfectly across the bust, but the shoulders are off somehow. Mine are a bit forward, which I used to compensate for, but never found a decent way to do so for sleeves cut in one with the bodice. I also used to widen shoulders, but didn’t think I needed to do that for the larger pattern size I use now. Maybe I still do.

My next project is a loose-fitting blouse, the Sencha from Colette Patterns. Then I want to perfect a basic wide-leg pants pattern that I can make a zillion times.

But after all that, I think I’ll do another sloper (see Glossary). I haven’t done one in years. I’d like to really get a handle on the key pattern alterations I need to make for fitted tops and bodices from the Big 4. I’d like one nice woven white cotton blouse that actually fits correctly and is comfortable to wear! Such a thing is impossible to get in the stores.

It might be time to buy some gingham.

Today’s progress: Crochet trim at the neckline

Crochet gloves were the inspiration for the trim choice for the polka dot top. Both the neckline and sleeves have facings, so the construction lent itself to a trim insertion at those edges. Today, I put in the crochet edging at the neckline.

I was hoping to use the Clover Wonder Clips to hold the trim in place while I sewed. I thought they would be a perfect choice since pins don’t work all that well with the open lace of crochet. As it turns out, the Wonder Clips have a working depth of 1/2 an inch, and the crochet trim only needed to be inserted into the seam 1/8 of an inch. That didn’t work out too well for my 5/8 inch seam. I’m sure I’ll find a use for the Wonder Clips in garment sewing. I’m going to try them instead of pins for the zipper insertion.

Anyway, today was the neck facing.

First I sewed the trim to the main fabric piece. Then I pinned the facing to the main piece, but I did it a little differently than I’ve done in the past. Usually, I pin the small facing piece face down on top of the larger main piece. It’s easier to work with this way, but this method puts on the outside the piece that will end up on the inside. This time, I put the facing right side up on my dress form. Then I put the bodice right side down on top and pinned everything together.

This was handy for sewing because that put the stitching line for attaching the trim on top where I could see it. This way I could sew exactly on that line to attach the facing.

I trimmed and pressed the seam as usual. Because of the trim insertion, I didn’t understitch. When I turned everything right side out, the facing fell smoothly to the inside. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to do it this way before. I think it made a big difference. Here is the final result:

Crochet trim insertion

Voilà! The crochet trim is in at the neckline, and I love the way it looks. If only I had crochet lace gloves ...

Next will be piecing and attaching the peplum, then putting in another invisible zipper. I’m hoping for a better result with that darn zipper this time.

What I learned today: I realized a couple of days ago that since I underlined the top, I probably had no need for interfacing. But I had already fused all the interfacing and facing pieces, so I went forward with my original plan. The faced edges will be thicker than necessary, but I don’t know that there’s any real harm from the extra layer. I will, however, keep that in mind the next time I underline.

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