Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Downton Abbey Clothing article

Is there anyone out there that isn't obsessed?

Dailymail Article Downton Abbey

And if you were sad that the series ended, we habe something else to look forward to on April the 14th a new mini series called "Titanic" from the writers of Downton Abbey.

Titanic preview (Youtube clip)

Monday, February 27, 2012

VPLL Challenge pattern #0336 Ladies Princess Slip

This is the first attempt at the muslin. The neckline needed to be dropped for me (this was just personal preference), it was also graded to my size. I need to scoop out the front armhole and move the straps in a little towards the neck, but I have to say I really like the gentle curves of the pattern. I expect to really like the final result.

This is the front

This is what was added to the back shoulder (about 3 1/2" to the back shoulder strap), the front shoulder increased by 3/4", and dropped the neckline (front and back), it also dropped the natural waist (but I am long waisted).

Below you will see the original vs what I will eventually do with this pattern.
I would like to use it as a slip in 2012, but with the some of the details from 1912.

Source Material before all of the changes, provided by the Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

The first pattern for the VPLL project is the Ladies Princess Slip from the March 24, 1912 edition of Mode Illustree.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Corset Grommet installation - How to...

If you were wondering how the grommets look so nice down the center back of the corset, here's my secret.


You need:
Grommets (2 part grommet, if there's only one piece it's an eyelet and steer clear from those)
Grommet tool
Piece of soft wood
Really sharp small scissors

The grommets used in this corset are size 00 - I bought the grommet tools as a set (die, tool, base, wood block).

MAKE A SAMPLE - Count your grommets and make sure you have enough for your project plus a few extra. Test the installation on that. Since I had fabric from this project I tested it, after all the die has to go through 3 layers of fabric here, I wanted to get a feel for the process.

So you start by marking your item. I used a very fine point permanent marker (yes it was a little bold of me, but I tested it on a scrap to make sure the ink wouldn't run).

For the next step you'll need your die, hammer and wood block.
The die is a long tube, one end has a sharp edge which cuts through the fabric, the other is meant to take the pounding of the hammer. DO NOT EVER HAMMER THE WRONG SIDE - you'll damage the die and never get a nice cut from it again.


Place your die exactly where you want the opening being careful to line everything up properly. You'll notice my marks were not centered but the holes are, the die was aligned when the it was placed for cutting.

Make sure your die is centered on the wood piece below, and is straight up and down. You want to be certain that the die will strike the wood below evenly to make an even cut into the fabric. Strike the end with the hammer a few times before lifting. If you pick your die up and there's no clean cut you have the option of placing the die exactly where it was and continuing to hammer, or if you have a partial cut you can take your scissors and trim as needed. It takes me 2-3 strikes to get the die through cleanly. When the die was new, only once.


You'll notice that some of mine still have little tags, these were trimmed.

The grommet has two pieces, one that is tall, and the other that is flat (like a washer but curved).

Place the tall piece on the base with the shaft facing up, and the wider part nesting in the concave groove.

Place the face of the fabric down over the grommet.


Place the flatter piece over the grommet neck (curve side up).

Place the grommet tool in the center.

Make sure that the bottom grommet piece is still nested in the base, and hammer it in.

Now a few things can happen here, your tool gets stuck in the grommet. Line everything up again and give it another good whack with the hammer, it should release.... or it's perfect :) yay!



It's very gratifying to finish, and it releases stress.

You can open the holes with an awl, I tried that once and it just didn't work for me. There was too much bulk and forcing the grommets through didn't give me a nice clean edge, and it just took longer. So I hope this helps you with any future grommet projects, this method works best for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning....

I normally sleep like a rock, but last night I couldn't turn my brain off. There is so much to do, so since it's a weekend, I decided to work through it, while I did some calming prep work, and made myself a nice chamomile tea.... all the while humming Carly Simon's version of "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning".


Managed to get the prep work done for the fabric version of the corset, so that should be the next post.

Good Night everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Traveler Lisette -Simplicity 2246 Finished

I won't keep you in suspense any longer....I chose the pink.



This used a package of the wider double fold bias tape by Wrights (3 yards). I cut the bias tape in half to reduce the bulk, and to increase yardage. In the end it was used on both sides of the front placket.


Inside hem


Sleeve seam allowance (mock Hong Kong finish)

There were plenty of areas for pattern matching (which turned out to be a challenge).
The center front placket both on the inside and outside pieces, and of course the pocket.

The printing wasn't perfect on this fabric, it wasn't perfectly square with a slight wave to the pattern about 7" in from selvage on one side. So matching could have been a lot worse. This is something to consider if you have a project where the matching needs to be perfect, check this out on your fabric before you cut into it.

I think this is why I have mostly solids in my fabric stash.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Traveler Lisette -Simplicity 2246 Piping and making it your own

What to do next.... remember I said I didn't like the overcast seams on the sleeves, and thought about doing that differently on this version? So I wanted to incorporate a contrast color, something to spice it up a bit. Here are the color combinations I explored.

I thought brown would tie into a brown leather belt I was thinking of using as an alternative to the self made sash. The brown is a length of quilting cotton that I would have cut into bias strips.

They've been showing Neon colors in the collections for the last few years and I think that's what nudged me for these options.

Neon yellow

Neon Pink

Or maybe layering the colors...
Yellow brown

Really the possibilities are endless. I'll surprise you with the final color selection in the next post.

So as a parting shot, this was my Traveler v.1, the one with all of the traveling pins on it. I think I had more fun shooting the photographs for this dress than anything else.

The traveler packed

The pins have been replaced with antique brass buttons, and a leather belt. It's been worn a bit, and I'm still waiting for the fabric to soften and lose the lint catcher properties it has.

Here it is now... Traveler v1.1
Traveler v.1

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Traveler Lisette -Simplicity 2246 Invisible pockets and making it your own

Just taking a break from the corset, in favor of 2012 wear for work. Yes I've done this one already but it didn't look anything like this. I bought some Liberty of London to make the pattern then chickened out. What is it about that fabric that defies cutting? (I think it's alive, and I think that's why there's so much of it on ebay, people buy it but can't cut it, so they have it in their stash forever and then sell it.... it's diabolical. For those of you who don't know what the big fuss is about, Liberty Tana Lawn is 21 British pounds = 33 US dollars, and for this project 3 yards = 99 US in fabric alone.)

The original blog post that inspired me to to make it was at purl bee blog

As soon as I saw that version I knew I needed one in a cotton lawn, so after deciding not to cut into the Liberty print, I starting hunting and came across the Anna Maria Horner prints. There was one pattern in particular I liked in a handkerchief motif called Diamond Mine. The problem was it is described as a voile on some online retailers and lawn on others. The real problem is that I had never worked with it, so didn't know what kind of quality I was working with. I finally found one at a reasonable price, it is almost a neon yellow, with bright pink and cocoa brown.

My WIP....

Now, on the first version (mid weight opaque linen) the sleeve seams were overcast and visible when it's folded in a cuff. So I wanted to change that, and this fabric is lightweight almost sheer. I will have to treat the seams differently. On this version I have the option to play and dress it up with more details.

First, I liked the hip pockets, there will be one instead of two and I want it to be invisible.


Testing with scraps, I settle on a prewashed silk dupioni to line it. Now you don't see the seam allowances from the turn under, or the print from the dress through the pocket fabric.


Even teeny tiny seam allowances need to be clipped.

To be truly invisible the pattern needs to match the front of the dress.

Since I changed the construction from the pattern...

Turn down and stitch top of the pocket (inside view).

Baste in place to topstitch.

Back to the first pic... you can almost make out the pocket from the opening.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another bias slip....V2978

I have planned a few shirt dresses this year and just want the flexibility of not "having" to line them if I don't want to. This is part of an OOP Donna Karan Vogue pattern V2978 (this is the slip to the dress pattern) also cut on the bias, with darts instead of seaming. I've noticed that Vogue repeats this same slip pattern in other pattern numbers so I thought I would give it a test run. It's simpler, only 2 body pieces instead of the 6 on the Folkwear pattern (not including straps and lace edging).

Slip on a form

Here is the flat sketch
Flat sketch slip V2978

If it were made in a heavier silk, it might be a nice little slip dress.

You can just about make out the hand stitching on the bias binding...
Close up

Narrow hem and french seam
French Seam and Narrow hem

Narrow hem in progress.
Narrow hem

Bias binding..
Measuring to cut the underarm bias strip

This is 100% silk crepe de chine, it's lighter in color than the other slip and it will be a welcome slip for a few white silk fabrics that are in the queue.

Tomorrow I resume work on the corset, cutting out the muslin is the next step, and I might be able to sew it together, but the busk and bones need to hurry up and get here, to move on....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Basic Skin Tone Bias Slip

This may not be everyone's cup of tea since there no color to it, and it looks very plain.... however, if you cut the rosettes off of underwear because they show through slinky fabrics, and kick yourself for ignoring the "plain cousin" in favor of those brightly colored lace embedded slips, only to find you are limited to what you can wear with them.... then you might find some usefulness to this plain little slip. It doesn't knock you over the head with it's brilliance but you can wear it under practically everything.

Finished slip

Project pics....
Silk crepe has a lovely drape and is very fluid, but it's a bear to work with. You really need to take your time and cut precisely, and don't get discouraged if after taking all that time you still end up with a few areas that don't meet, take a deep breath, go back and trim them.

Cutting accurately

Match your side seams...
Matching side seams

You need a few good tools to help you along the way, very sharp scissors and fine sharp silk pins.
Thin sharp long silk pins

Don't be afraid to try new techniques like overlapped seams...
Overlapped seams

This is a Folkwear pattern, Intimacies #219, the same pattern that featured the tap pants from a few posts ago.