Archive for February, 2010

Mexican Blouse Ideas

I am sewing on the dark red top but it is going slowly due to family obligations.  In the meantime, I am thinking of different blouses I have made and ideas for new tops.  I like to try out different crochet and knit lace patterns, but my interest doesn’t last long enough to make  5 or 10 yards of lace trim.  Usually I get to about half a yard and want to move on to another pattern.  This top will use up that short length of lace:

The wide lace runs across the width of the front yoke.  I once made this top using a length of knitted lace trimmed with crocheted shell stitch on the top edge.  The blouse and lace were both white.

This blouse uses cutwork embroidery and a crocheted edging  or commercial lace around the neckline.  I have always wanted to try machine cutwork but so far never have.

The above picture shows a length of crochet lace that is about 2″ wide.  This kind of trim is interesting because it has a natural curve to it that would make it great for trimming a neckline.  Filet crochet edgings can often be found in antique stores for very little money but I made the piece above and, predictably, there is slightly less than 1/2 yard.  You could crochet a shell edging or other pretty edging along the long edge and use it on a yoke.

I was just looking in my box of white trims, and there are a lot of trims in there.  I should get busy and use them now instead of dooming them to be passed down to my heirs with a bunch of other sewing stuff I never got around to using.  Especially all those strange 1/2 yard pieces they will wonder about.

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I cut out the top except for the front yoke.  For that piece, I started with a big rectangle of fabric slightly deeper than the yoke pattern and a lot wider.  I marked the rectangle  with parallel lines for the tucks and fancy stitching.

After this was done, I stitched in the tucks and decorative stitching, then gave it a press.  I put the front yoke pattern piece over the rectangle, centering the fancy panel as best I could, then I cut out the front yoke.

I put a line of staystitching at the top and bottom of the tucks to keep them from ripping out since I had cut through the stitching when I cut out the yoke piece.

Now I’m ready to start sewing the top together.  I think I will finish the neck edge with a bias binding.

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Red Paisley Pencil Skirt

Finished at last! It is not easy to take a picture of a skirt when the intended wearer is not there to model it, but I gave it a try:

This fabric is sueded and is very soft to the touch. It is also pretty thin, so I interlined the whole skirt.

I interfaced the waistband and topstitched it.

Here’s a back view with the kickpleat.

In this interior view of the kick pleat, you can see where the vintage instructions have you clip the seam allowance right above the hem. The seams are pressed open in the hem. To help the inner fold stay in place, I put in a line of stitching through the fold to hold it in place. The kick pleat is also stitched at the top of the pleat. To make some neat lines of stitching, I cut out a little strip of freezer paper, ironed it onto the skirt, and stitched around it. You can see the underside of the stitching on the slanted top of the kick pleat above.

Above is a closer view of the inner fold. The line of stitching works really well to keep the pleat neat. The stitching goes through the folded back pleat section, not through the whole skirt.

Next up will be a Mexican Peasant Blouse, then more skirts.

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Field Trip

I read somewhere online about a thrift shop in Sebastopol that carries only craft and needlework items.  Since the spouse and daughter also wanted to take a drive in the country, off we went to Sebastopol.  The Legacy Thrift Shop at 781 Gravenstein Avenue Sebastopol, CA, is easy to find and the best shop I have been to in a long time.  We took two big boxes of craft stuff to donate (the shop benefits the Sebastopol Seniors) and I had the most fun looking at everything.  The prices are fabulous, and they have fabrics, yarn, patterns, books, pamphlets, just about everything fiber craft related you can think of.  They even have a bin full of attachments for old machines and a stack of old machine manuals.  I was looking for old sewing books and pamphlets and here’s what I found:

That Singer Sewing booklet in the center is from 1955.  I also found some great old embroidery pamphlets on cutwork and a vintage knitting machine book.  Also, this cool apron pattern:

I will definitely be going back to this shop again and again.  In addition, it gives you a guilt-free place to dispose of your no-longer-needed sewing or craft supplies and you get to support a good cause.

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New Mexican Peasant Blouse

I decided to try a monochromatic blouse. My daughter likes a dark red color, so I have found the length of cotton this color in the stash. It is not a color that combines well with other bright colors, so I am going to try tucks and self-color embroidery on the front yoke. Here’s my preliminary sketch:

In order to do this kind of embellishment, I cut a piece of fabric much larger than the yoke piece in width, and a little longer in length. I do the tucks and embroidery on the piece, then put the pattern piece on it and cut it out. This is a technique often used in heirloom sewing.

It takes longer to do the embroidery or decoration on the yoke then it does to sew the whole thing together. I put a placket in the back yoke of the last MPB I made for the younger daughter, but when she tried it on she could pull it over her head easily without unbuttoning the placket, so I don’t have to put the placket in anymore.

I finished the waistband topstitching on the pencil skirt and just have to hem it. I decided to use that slinky hem tape to reduce bulk on the kickpleat, so I had to go buy some today. Should have the hem done tomorrow.

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I usually trace a pattern off onto butcher paper to avoid ruining a multi-sized pattern. That’s because I am a different size from either of my two daughters, and they are a different size from each other. I don’t like having to cram the traced pattern back into the original envelope so I have developed a method to make it easier for me. I use 9″x12″ manilla envelopes to hold the original pattern and all the tracings and pattern pieces. I sketch a picture of the garment so that I can spot the pattern quickly in the drawer, but I also sometimes use a color xerox or computer image of the pattern front.The envelope above shows an image from off the computer. I usually write the pattern number, who it is for (which daughter), the size and garment sketches:

Since I store my patterns in an Anaboda chest, I was glad to see that these manilla envelopes fit nicely if you put them in sideways.

Sometimes, I just use the original pattern envelope for the image on the manilla envelope, cutting it apart and taping or gluing the front to the front and the back section to the back.

These big envelopes are so much easier to get the pattern pieces in and out of, and there is lots of room for making notes like how big the hem was, the size of seam allowances you used and all the other things you are sure you will remember but never do.

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Gorgeous Book

I ran across this lovely book in my local used-book shop. The description on the cover says that it is part of the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) Fashion in Detail series using their ‘renowned world dress collection’. It shows close-ups of various portions of garments in really spectacular photos, and also has those great line drawings of the garments that show the design. The Table of Contents shows how the book is organized:

If you like ethnic clothing and/or patternless clothing, this book will be an inspiration. I leave you with a view of the book opened on my table:

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