Sewing Lessons & FAQ

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by Von Dee, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. bunnyb.gal

    bunnyb.gal Practically Family

    Messages:
    788
    Location:
    sunny London
    Sheeplady, I apologise as well for a late response - I don't know how I missed your post! This is the link to the course, which starts next week - I'm so excited (but with a little bit of trepidation; as a novice sewer, it's going to be a helluva steep learning curve...)!

    http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/fashion/1399-vintage_fashion_40s_50s

    They also do a 20's/30's course, and this, which I just saw and may do the next time 'round:

    http://http://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/fashion/1420-vintage_shoes_the_30s_40s
     
  2. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    That looks wonderful! Please post pics of what you make! :)
     
  3. Frenchy56

    Frenchy56 A-List Customer

    Messages:
    311
    Location:
    here!
    Sizing up a pattern in certain areas ONLY

    I have a question, and I've only been confused by the info/diagrams/photos I've found so far, though it seems simple...

    all the vintage patterns I've bought are to fit my bust size (36in). However, they normally state that the waist is 28 and the hip is 38 or 39. I would need the waist to be 30 and the hips 42 as an optimum measurement. I would not need to make any alterations to any other part of the dress/ garment. How can I do this easily?

    Do I really need to make a mock-up in muslin? Do I need to make a seperate pattern (i.e. and not cut the original pattern?

    I found a blog post which said that for a slim-fitting skirt or sheath dress, you also need to take in the sides if you have widened the hip, to maintain the slim shape and not end up with a wider hem than you're supposed to. Surely this would undo the whole widening thing, though?

    I realise this may seem like jumping in the deep end for someone who has only ever sewn buttons on (badly), and I won't be making any dresses to start with, but the primary reason for my wanting to start vintage sewing is to make the things I can't otherwise find- namely, lovely fitted sheath dresses that aren't miles too big for my bust!

    Any help greatly appreciated!
     
  4. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Frenchy- I never realized that your question was not answered until I came back to this thread to ask my own. For changing the waist, it really depends on the pattern. You need to figure out exactly what pieces are incorporated into the waist. For instance, some dresses (like a sheath dress) will have two or four pieces for the body- one or two for the front; one or two for the back. For these, I would add to the outside of the pattern, as there is not a separate bodice, particularly if it is a true "tube" form without darts or anything fancy. If you need the hips enlarged, I would enlarge down to the hem, otherwise you're going to get a bottle neck at the bottom. Leaving the hem the same size will totally change the intended shape of the garment.

    If there is a separate bodice, I would regrade the pieces in the waist and for the hip. Grading involves (basically) tracing the pattern pieces on tracing paper, cutting them up in different segments, and taping them back together. So, for instance, if you need the waist to be 2 inches larger than the pattern, and there are four pattern pieces to go around your body, you'd add 1/2 inch to each piece (.5 inch X 4= 2 inches total). You will then need to also do what my sewing instructor (I think) referred to as "slicing" the bodice- which involves cutting the pattern pieces on the edge of the bodice towards the waist and spreading them out a bit to account for the widening of the waist. I am not sure about this whole process, though, I've regraded entire patterns but I've never graded sections of them. But this is what I would try. Other ladies can help you out with this more than I can, but I want to try and answer your question.

    As far as a muslin, I never make a muslin. I go to the cheap discount fabric ends rack when they have a 50% off sale and buy that fabric. I also buy really cheap printed quilting cottons or flannels and make my first version out of that. That way I have something I can wear out of the house after investing all that time if the pattern works. If it is really messed up I can cut it up for a quilt. I used to waste my time on muslins, but in reality, muslin isn't really all that cheap and it isn't really wearable. If you shop around you can often find fabric at near-muslin prices.

    The only thing I really use muslin for is lining.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  5. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Ladies- I have a question about backing a dress.

    I am working on making a silk dress for a wedding. I am looking for something to back the silk with that will give it a really crisp nice look- the kind where the folds are crisp, the dress has a shape, and the folds of the dress have some structure and stand on their own. For a crisp backing, I've heard of several options: cotton flannel, cotton batiste, and using a plain cotton (like a muslin).

    The backin would not show. I'd prefer not to use a flannel, as I'll be wearing the dress in a more southern state outside. So I am left with the options of a cotton batiste or a muslin or perhaps something I do not know about. The silk I own, but I'm not keen on spending too much to back it, because it's a large circle skirt dress. I have no problems with backing it in a muslin- I'm not picky and if somebody looks up my skirt and comments on how it is backed with muslin, I'll kick them or something. According to pictures I've seen on the internet, flannel and cotton batiste tend to give similar enough effects despite their differences in weight, so I am wondering if muslin will work.

    Do you think a cotton muslin would work and give the dress the crisp look I desire? If not, what would you recommend?
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  6. crwritt

    crwritt One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,109
    Location:
    Falmouth ME
    The best way to tell would be to test a few fabrics. You want something that will give enough body and hold a press, be not be too thick.
     
  7. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Somehow I knew the answer would be to test. ;) My preliminary tests are leaning towards muslin. I'm not sure if I will line it or just leave the backing showing.
     
  8. Sickofitcindy

    Sickofitcindy One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I like silk organza the best for underlining. It's lightweight and doesn't make me more hot.
     
  9. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    The problem I'm finding with backing it with silk is it fails to give it any real structure. It does give it nice drape, but it doesn't hold a press as well as I would like. :) I may line it in silk.
     
  10. kamikat

    kamikat Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,794
    Location:
    Maryland
    How heavy is the silk? What is it, satin, taffeta, ect? I lean toward batiste, as muslin might give too much body resulting in soft folds, rather than crisp pleats. Does that make sense? The other issue with muslin is that it is completely untreated. Generally speaking, you need to prewash it on HOT 2-4times to prevent shrinking.
     
  11. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    The silk is a duppioni- quite heavy. It already has quite a bit of body, but I want to see if I can get it to have a little more. :) So perhaps you are right about the batiste being better. I have a 60% off fabric coupon, I'll see what Joann's has today.

    I always used to wash my fabric in very hot water at least 2 times to get all of the sizing treatments. However, since they've begun adding more anti-mold and anti-mildew chemicals, I wash them at least 4 times with pure hot water- the same that I do with new clothing. Otherwise I can get a rash. I notice with my old fabrics only 2 times or so is necessary, but with the newer ones, it is a heck of a lot of washing and I also get a lot more shrinkage, with the shrinkage being quite long running through multiple washes. (I roughly measure the fabric every wash to ensure in the last wash it is no longer shrinking, if it is, then I continue washing).
     
  12. MissAmelina

    MissAmelina A-List Customer

    Messages:
    413
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Silk wedding gown......

    Hi there ladies!

    I am making a buddy's wedding gown and haven't handled lightweight fabrics in a long time. The dress will be made of silk chiffon or crepe de chine. I would love to get my hands on a cheap fabric that is similar in sewing difficulty so I can start messing around with the seams on a mock up dress. (Her fashion fabric will run about 25 bucks a yard and I don't wanna mess it up!) Any fabric suggestions?

    This is the dress pattern:
    http://www.vintagegown.com/1930s_art_deco_gown_information2.htm

    I have been told that a lot of the dresses from the era have unfinished seams on the inside....I do plan on using some french seams (at the sides and probably armholes), but the panel seams on the skirt (as per pattern directions) are merely folded, pressed, and then topstitched in place. Any suggestions on that as well? I know that these types of fabrics can stretch on the bias--do they need to be stabilized with something when sewn in place?

    Any websites, books, tips, etc etc are appreciated. I am scared poopless to start this project, but that's a good sign.....learning new things and being challenged is good....right? :)
     
  13. lareine

    lareine A-List Customer

    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I don't know how much era-specific advice you'll find here, but the Bridal and Formalwear Sewing forum on Pattern Review should have a wealth of information for you. I'd go there before I did anything else!

    Good luck. Anything that involves weddings can get very stressful so I hope your part of it goes smoothly.
     
  14. MissAmelina

    MissAmelina A-List Customer

    Messages:
    413
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    panel seam finish on 1930's sheer gown

    Pfft...what a silly I am. I totally posted the wrong link in my earlier post.

    Since then I have done a ton of research and know what I need to know for the most part....HOWEVER...i am wondering the best way to finish the panel seams on a sheer gown made from this pattern:

    https://vpll.3dcartstores.com/1930-Ladies-Evening-Gown-In-Two-Styles_p_161.html

    The instructions say to fold over the seam allowance, then topstitch. Do i then trim the interior seam allowance? Or trim and then overlock stitch? The fabric I am working with is very sheer, so you can see all. How did they do it back then?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!!!
     
  15. crwritt

    crwritt One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,109
    Location:
    Falmouth ME
    This is good info on working with sheers http://www.craftstylish.com/item/86246/how-to-sew-with-sheer-fabrics/page/all
    The more sheer the fabric is, the more minimal you would want the seam. For that dress,where it has decorative panels I would stitch the seams, press them to one side, topstitch, and then trim the seam allowances.

    For the side seams I would do the double stitched seam.Overlocking would show too much.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  16. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    I thought I would revive this thread because I've been doing quite a bit of sewing lately, and I was hoping we could talk a little bit about using patterns from the 1930s and 1940s specifically. I have a bunch of questions and dilemmas and would appreciate hearing your views. Just randomly --

    -- I've been making a bunch of skirts (1937 to about 1945) and am never quite sure how tight and how long they should be. Would you say this is about right: 1937, 3-4 inches below the knee; then gradually shorter, until we get to about an inch below the knee in the mid-forties? I don't believe that home-sewed garments had to adhere to government restrictions, did they? I assume you'd want to be in style, though, so naturally you'd make them to suit the current fashions. I should add that I'm barely 5'1"

    -- I've found that many of the skirt patterns aren't nearly as full once you make them up as they look on the pattern envelope. This baffles me. Of course, an artist has more license than a photographer, and the covers were always illustrated by hand.

    -- I'm a bit of a geek for authenticity, but I use zippers rather than snaps etc. Some of the skirt patterns do indicate that a "slide fastener" is appropriate, which I assume would be a metal zipper with a cotton band. Seriously, to do this right, should I be looking for those? This is a question for an opinion, but I'd be curious to hear what people think.

    -- does anyone know of a good fairly simple tutorial for enlarging patterns? about 90 percent of my patterns are a size 14, and I think in 1930s patterns I'm closer to a 16 (though my B-W-H ratio is very different from theirs.)

    I have other questions, but this will be a good start for now. Mostly I'm interested in hearing how other folks cope with vintage pattern issues, and what sorts of solutions you have to your challenges.
     
  17. Alice Blue

    Alice Blue One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    150
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Mixing seersucker and broadcloth?

    I'm nearly ready to start my first dress from a vintage pattern, and I've picked out a grey and white seersucker fabric. I thought a straight shirtwaist would be too nurse-like, and I'd like to make a V-neck yoke and sleeves in a different, solid color. (This is the pattern.)

    I had settled on a rust color for this colorblock area, and found a rust colored cotton broadcloth. However I'm wondering if mixing these fabrics could lead to trouble when washing, either through bleeding or because they dry differently?

    I've also considered running the seersucker stripes in a different direction up top, although I think I might need to find a different pattern to do that. So far I've been pretty attached to the colorblocking idea, since it is reminiscent of the "conservation patterns" which show how to add new fabric to an old dress to update it or make it last longer.
     
  18. sew.momma

    sew.momma New in Town

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    NYC
    Help with pattern

    Hello ladies,

    I have a vintage pattern that has all the pattern pieces but no directions and I'm a little confused because there is no zipper in the skirt. Here is what it looks like. Is the front panel supposed to be like a flap? Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you :)
     
  19. lareine

    lareine A-List Customer

    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    New Zealand
    At a guess I'd say the opening is concealed in one of the front pockets. Let us know if you find out for sure!
     
  20. Katinka von K.

    Katinka von K. A-List Customer

    Messages:
    316
    Location:
    Germany
    Hey ladies, I need a little fabric advise. I´ve seen the most fabulous retro fabric today but it has 5 % spandex. I use an old sewing machine that doesn´t seem to offer any elastic stitches. Will there be problems with the seams if I use the plain boring stitch on 5 % spandex fabric?
     

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