Thursday, July 17, 2008


Here are some samples of the small, evening purses and skirts I've made and sold at a local boutique here in town.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

One Dress, Two Ways

Decades of Style, #4002, 1944 Housedress. I really appreciate what this one-woman company out of Berkeley is doing for vintage sewing. She selects what she feels are the most unusual patterns in her stash, the ones with the most interesting style.

After fitting my muslin, I sewed this first one in turquoise cotton eyelet "by the book." The fitting posed an interesting problem: I shortened the front and back armholes pretty significantly to make the bodice fit better. So I was expecting to have to make the sleeve cap smaller as well, to fit the new, smaller armscye. (I prefer this spelling to "armseye.") But the sleeve fit my new opening pretty well with no alteration. This means that the sleeve as printed is smaller than the armscye. (Kind of a problem!)

I don't care for the sleeve hem finish the pattern calls for: you turn up the edge 1" and handstitch in place. They are also too fluttery for me. The front band application is a little tricky. You need to watch your seam finishes when you make this garment.

The patch pockets look like handkerchiefs — cute. But these points don't like to stay up on their own, and the pattern instructions didn't call for interfacing the hem facing, which you definitely need if you want them to not flop over. I would add stay tape as well if I made this again. The suggested closure is metal snaps, which is really pretty neat. There are 8 on my dress, and they almost match my fabric, plus the conventional one at the top that's hidden by the rick rack band. You need interfacing in the front placket but the pattern instructions don't mention that.

I was going to make the dress the same way again, but I couldn't help myself and I changed the pattern. I narrowed the sleeve openings at the hem and added a hem facing, which gave me more of the results I wanted. I skipped the outside neck band and drafted a neck facing instead, which I joined to the front placket facing. I applied the rick rack at the seam lines instead. (Love those little points sticking out of the seam!) I put in side seam pockets instead of the patch pockets. The top seemed plain, so I made a bow. How-dee!

Good accessories are essential to these garments.