Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting the Right Fit with Contemporary and Vintage Patterns

I decided to organize some of the great tutorials I've found on using and altering vintage patterns for easy access and thought I would share them with you. There are so many terrific blogs and tutorials. This is not all that are available but will serve as a bit of a cheat sheet for me. This way, hopefully, I wont have to stop the middle of sewing and spend a half hour trying to find the answer online. I can just take five minutes and look it up on my own blog ... Well, that's the plan.

eHow has a number of good articles on sewing, these are for working with patterns:
How To Alter Sewing Patterns
How to Make a Paper Sewing Pattern

Sewing Vintage: Three Essential Alterations for Vintage Patterns - This tutorial focuses on 40's and 50's patterns but has tips which can be useful for other eras as well. I believe the author is Gertie. She also gives one or two tips for updating a vintage pattern.

This is a short but valuable tutorial from the American Duchess: Sizing Up Vintage Patterns for Modern Wear.

I like this article on It's Sew Karren's site, which "How to Take Sewing Measurements and Pattern Fitting Measurements." It includes a conversion table for fabric measurements and a simple description of the measurements needed to determine your correct pattern size, whether contemporary or vintage.

Gertie wrote a an article for Burda Style, Marking Unprinted Patterns with a photographic tutorial on her blog.

"Drafting Patterns for Women's Pants" is a tutorial on Leena's website. This site's tuturorials are for use with PatternMaker Drafting Software but some of the instructions and tips are applicable to hand drafting.

I've posted lists of tutorials before; here are links to my past postings.

How to Make a Sloper ... Vintage Sewing - It includes more links to tutorials on taking measurements, working with and making patterns.

More on Slopers and Muslins
Sewing Tutorials ... Pattern Alterations, Techniques, Fabric, etc
Making Time for Sewing - Stretch Knit and Bias Tape Tutorials
A few Tutorials on Piping

Please feel free to suggest other tutorials you think might help me and the rest of the sewing blogger community.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sewing Inspiration - Flappers and a Little Reality Check ... the 1920's

I think you've seen from past posts that I love the fashion of the late Edwardian and Bell Epoque eras. However, I also know that my sewing skills are not yet up to some of the intricacies these fashions requires. And, I'm not sure I'm ready to wear a corset yet. :) Fast forwarding a few years, I land in the 1920's, time of the flapper, of simpler silhouettes, higher hemlines, greater freedom of movement and the "One Hour Dress."

I'm not sure I'll ever make a wearable dress in one hour, but I do believe that I can make something lovely inspired by this era given a few more hours. Here is one look I would love recreate.

Clara Bow in the 1920's - Check out the great boots.

I'm sure you can find this photo all over the net but I happened to find it on the San Francisco Podcast, Sparkle Tack.

Anna Pavlova in a Garden in the 1920's.

Girls just want to have fun! I love the variations in the details, fabrics and necklines. And, check out the hats. The photo comes from a post on with the unfortunate title: "Condemned to Be Virgins: The 2,000,000 Women Robbed by the War." I like mine better.

Pictorial Review from Summer 1925. These styles are so simple and sleek with small details and wonderful fabrics. I don't think these are "One Hour" dresses but I could see myself making one in three or four hours. I think I have a pattern or two similar to these. I'll take a look and post photos when I find them.

If you are tempted to try the 'One Hour Dress", please check out the SewMarm's video tutorial. Here is the link to part one of the six part tutorial.

You should also look at Dragonfly Formals' take on the one hour dress. She has three examples which show how you can put your personal touch on the dress. Her use of beads really lift the designs and seem to fit perfectly with the era.

Ok, before signing off, I just had to indulge in a little eye candy:

This beautiful dress has the simple lines I've been talking about but the beautiful beadwork makes it a bit magical. I found this photo on a blog called 100 Years of Fashion.

Here's one more beauty, this one by Norman Hartnell (1924). It's beadwork and embroidery have an Asian influence. This may be more of an 100 Hour Dress.

Have you sewn anything of or inspired by this era. I would love to see you creations and hear your adventures. Feel free to send your links and photos.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sewing and Weight Loss

When I began writing this blog, I did not really think that my return to sewing and my journey to a healthier me would intersect completely. Having read so many blogs before beginning my own, I simply thought I would write about those things I am doing and learning that might be worth sharing, though they might be unrelated to each other.

Well, sewing and weight loss have come together in an inspiring way for me. As I finally begin my first project, and having planned a few future projects, I realize that I am reluctant to plan too many projects because I hope to lose enough weight that I would have to alter eventually most of the pieces I intend to make.

Rather than making me discouraged or inclined to continue to postpone my sewing adventures, it has encouraged me to stick to be more dedicated to my health plan. I notice I am making better food choices and working out when I don't feel like it. Always the thought comes to me that, with just a bit more effort, can I become more fit and make the clothes I want to make.

For now I will concentrate on making basic tops and working on my sewing skills. And I will get healthier and lose the weight I need to lose.

I see so many wonderful women on these blogs, women of all shapes, weights and heights. You are all creating beautiful things through your sewing and crafting. You look wonderful in your photos, not just because of what you are wearing but becuase of how you carry yourselves and how you feel about what you've created. And I realize that this is a constant reminder that after health, the most important thing about weight loss or any change I make in my life is how I feel about it. I am inspired and, as you know, I've been low on inspiration lately.

Thank you for the inspiration! One day I hope to inspire some of you.