Tag Archives: vintage

Oops — “Facing” a mistake

My altered contour waistband for McCall’s 6438 is made of three pieces: the front, the back right (which extends to be an underlap) and the back left.

The waistband facing has the same three pieces; but because the two back pieces are asymmetrical, they are different from the waistband pieces.

After basting the skirt and skirt lining together at the waistband seam, I started pinning together the waistband pieces and the waistband facing pieces and made my frustrating discovery.

See these pattern pieces that look ready to go? Deceiving!

I interfaced the facing pieces, not the waistband pieces. Gaaah! The front piece is symmetrical, so the waistband and facing are interchangeable, but the back pieces are screwed up.

I am mulling over my damage-control options for what is only a wearable muslin anyway:

  • Use as is and have the underlap extend from the left under the right piece. Then the skirt waistband would open the opposite way. If I ever wore it with a back-button blouse with a correct overlap, it would look stupid.
  • Use the interfaced pieces as the facing and the noninterfaced pieces as the waistband. But then I’m afraid the hand sewing of the facing wouldn’t come out as well and seam allowance ridges would be more obvious at the front of the waistband.
  • Interface the back waistband pieces and cut new back facings. But that is a waste of resources since it’s not absolutely necessary.

I’m glad I made this mistake on the wearable muslin, so I can be aware of this issue when working on the good fabric.

The question is: Which one of these solutions do I dislike the least?

Hmmm …

Aha! The process of writing and editing this post helped me think through this problem. My solution:

Use the interfaced front piece for the waistband. Attach it to the non-interfaced back pieces. For the facing, I can use the noninterfaced front piece attached to the interfaced back pieces. It solves most of my issues without using additional fabric or interfacing resources.

I definitely dislike this solution the least. It only took me two days to come up with it.

Gemini note (because sewing isn’t everything): After being on vacation and eating nothing but pricey and oversized restaurant food for a week, I just want to cook and bake every day!

Separates: Changing a contour waistband from a side to a back opening

In my quest for the perfect vintage-style skirt for my Separates project, I found McCall’s 6438.

Although the actual sewn garment looks terrible on the model (Why is she wearing a contour waistband so high on her waist?), this pattern has the elements I wanted:

  • A contour waistband, which isn’t strictly vintage but works better on my not-so-hourglass figure.
  • A long skirt that’s full at the bottom, but smooth at the waist. (I don’t need any extra fabric there, thank you!)
  • A seam at the center back of the skirt, so I can easly change the skirt to a back closure. The better to add side pockets.

Today’s task was to redraft the pattern from a side to a center back closure and create the pockets. First up, the skirt pattern piece:

To change the skirt pattern for a back closure was just a matter of moving the circle for the zipper end. This looks a little fuzzy primarily because the pattern is under the Swedish Tracing Paper, though truth be told, some of that is operator error with my new camera!

Next was redrafting the waistband. The back waistband had the underlap extension on the side, so I used the front waistband for my base pattern.

I traced the front waistband pattern to create two back waistband pieces, one with an underlap, one without.

I had to add a seam allowance to the center back line for the left side. I added a seam allowance and 1.5 inch underlap to the right side.

Overlapped at the center back, the new back waistband pieces are the same size as the front waistband.

With that done, I moved on to creating slant pockets. I could have used a piece from an uncut pants pattern, but instead I drew it freehand with a few of the dimensions based on the nicely sized pockets from a pair of ready-to-wear pants with a contour waistband that I have. (Don’t you hate pockets that can’t actually hold anything? I at least want my phone to fit in there.) It was easiest for me to envision if I drew all the lines right on the skirt pattern and then traced those to create the separate pieces.

To draw the lines for the various pocket pieces on the skirt piece, I used a combination of freehand and my design ruler. I can use this whole pattern piece for the back skirt pieces and trim off the little slant area for the front skirt pieces.

Here are the resulting pieces:

My new slant pocket pattern pieces.

In my head, I know how all this will go together because I’ve sewn a slant pocket before. I THINK it will work just fine. (If you see a flaw in my drafting, please let me know!)

The pattern piece that won’t show on the outside, marked A above, can be done in a lining fabric. I have an idea of using a self piping for the slanted edge. The skirt will be done first as a wearable muslin (some quilting cotton), but I just checked my project bag and found lining fabric, but no zipper.

Now the question becomes: Invisible or regular …

Gemini note (because sewing isn’t everything): I am currently obsessing over the BBC production of Sherlock, gleefully egged on by my friend Kim!

Sewing a vintage wardrobe: Separates

In my last post, I bemoaned the state of my wardrobe. There are some very obvious holes that, when filled, would make everything work together — and enable me to wear the blouse I just finished. Which got me thinking: It’s time to put a wardrobe plan together.

The delightful Sarah took the time to comment on my post and said her wardrobe plan consists of dresses because they don’t have to go with anything. Right she is, which made me wonder: Why do I favor separates? I realized that it’s ready to wear’s fault.

I am different sizes on top and bottom, which by default sends me to separates. I’m also larger than the B-cup for which ready to wear is designed. Thus, I have a lot of sweaters and knits. What was I thinking, then, when I decided I ought to buy a new dress for my daughter’s upcoming eighth-grade promotion? The dresses I bought online HAD to be returned (shudder), and the search for one in the store was fruitless. Off to the sweaters, where I found a nice linen-colored number with a slightly 1920s feel that looks good with the two skirts I most recently made. Immediate problem solved.

But what about the rest of my wardrobe?

I decided that I need to sew some separates in 2012. And not just randomly. I need a plan!

I’ve posted before on the following book:

Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, 1970 edition

I LOVE this sewing book! This is the 1970 edition. It’s in three-ring binder form.

The pages on wardrobe planning have always fascinated me. I showed some pages on accessorizing in an earlier post.

But I’m going to use the page on overall wardrobe planning to drive my sewing plan for 2012.

Better Homes and Garden Sewing Book, page from 1970 edition

It all seems so simple doesn’t it?

I’m not going to follow these suggestions slavishly because I’m a girl who likes pants. And here is my main pattern:

Simplicity 3688

Simplicity 3688. I’ve already made this skirt successfully.

So here’s the plan:

  • Perfect an A-line skirt pattern and make it in navy. I’ve made the Simplicity 3688 skirt twice: once as is and once with a contour waistband that I drafted. Contour waistbands aren’t vintage, but they work better on me. The version I did is 1 inch too big in the waist, and I may want it a little longer. I’ll be doing a wearable muslin of McCall’s 6438 next:
McCall's 6438

I like the longer length on this one and the four-gore structure, which will make it easy to change from a side to a back zipper because I want side pockets.

  • Perfect a wide-leg pants pattern and make it in navy. Wide-leg pants are flattering on me, and I like them cuffed. I also want a contour waistband and pockets, so there will probably be some drafting going on.
  • Perfect one basic blouse pattern and make it in cream. For this, I have no clue what I’ll do, but it won’t be Simplicity 3688. Jewel necklines are heinous on those with a full bust. One of Simplicity’s Amazing Fit blouse patterns (which have different pattern pieces for different cup sizes) may be involved.
  • Perfect one jacket pattern and make it in a navy pattern. The jacket pattern for Simplicity 3688 is a perfect 1940s platform for all sorts of embellishments. I’ve been saving pictures of 1940s jackets to one of my boards on Pinterest for inspiration. This will be the last project because it scares me silly! The pattern doesn’t call for tailoring techniques, but I want to try some. It will be the first time.

This will no doubt be a fairly lengthy process of wearable muslins, trial-and-error alterations, and new-to-me techniques. Now that I think of it, it’s mid-May. The remainder of 2012 may not be enough time!

Interested in vintage?

If you are interested in vintage, but don’t know where to start or are at all intimidated, read these two wonderful posts from Ladies who are Livin’ la Vida Vintage:

Tuppence Ha’penny: So you want to do vintage?


Diary of a Vintage Girl: Going against the flow

The bottom line from these two lovely ladies: If you have any interest at all, just go for it. Wear as much or as little vintage as you like. Mix your decades and your influences. There are no rules except having fun.

There is no wrong way to do vintage.

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