Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Vintage Sewing Update

I've been a bit quiet about the home-sewing challenge, because I have to confess I haven't done much!

I did try and make an off-the-shoulder top before we went on holiday, back at the end of August, after Vix's post about this easy to make style using this tutorial.  I didn't finish it on time so I didn't get to wear it.  I have to admit it was a real struggle.  I don't think I read the instructions properly, and my ruffle was far too tight.  I had to insert two panels at the shoulders.  I also chose a sheer fabric, which meant I basically had to make the top twice, to include a lining.  I don't think it's particularly flattering, so it's one for the 'learned a lot' pile (along with those tiny, tiny shorts...).  I might try and make another one in the future, but I will have to be more careful with my fabric choice and even more careful with the measuring and reading of instructions.

sewing gypsy top

sewing gypsy top

I've just finished a 1940s wrap top that Christina from Godets and Gussets made using this tutorial.  The main hurdle for me was the bias binding. which I find fiendishly difficult to put around a neckline.  I tried using the machine but messed it up, so sewed it by hand, which took forever.  The top needed a few adjustments to make it fit too, as it was too long.  Christina made it in 2 hours.  I estimated it would take me 4 to 6 hours.  In reality, it took TWO DAYS!!!  Some of this was frantically looking things up that a more experienced sewer would know how to do instinctively.  I am not overly happy with the fit, but I like the style and fabric I chose, so I'll pack it away for next summer, even if I just wear it around the house.

1940s wrap top

1940s wrap top

1940s wrap top

In other sewing news:
I still haven't finished that test circle skirt I started.
I still haven't started the Tilly and the Buttons pattern I spent lots of money on fabric for.
And I still haven't finished the 1920s' one-hour dress I started (yet another 'quick' project supposedly, yet I've spent at least 3 days on it!).

So what's next on my list?  I need to hem some curtains (phew, a simple challenge!) for our kitchen.  That will probably take me a day, judging from my lack of skill and speed at this whole sewing thing.

But am I enjoying it?  Yes, so I'll persevere.  Surely it must get easier at some point?!

33 comments:

  1. That's funny, I was only thinking recently that we hadn't had a sewing update from you.
    Both tops look fabulous and very professional even if you aren't entirely happy. With every project, successful or not so much, you learn something along the way.
    Well done on the bias binding, I still get in a mess with it!
    I'm keen to do some sewing this week but I'm lacking the right fabric for the task, I might go and see if I can find something to butcher in a charity shop! x

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    1. Your tips about using charity shop curtains and pound rail garments to practice on has been really helpful Vix, it's been great to not worry too much about ruining expensive fabric with my beginner mistakes! And you're right, I've learnt a hell of a lot!!

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  2. Sewing does take a long time to master, that's for sure. But I think you are being overly critical of yourslelf! You have done a really fantastic job on both of these tops! Big hurray for you! The off the shoulder top might work better with a more full drill, like the ones from Tara scarlet, and theirs are cropped I think, to flatter the waist better. Maybe try a tweak and have another go! Good luck on the curtains, I left mine pinned for the last year, yuck, so heavy to take down and lug to my machine, so the pins remain, ha ha.

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    1. I think that's a great suggestion about the top, I think that's where I went wrong was I cut two frill pieces at half the shoulder circumference each, when each piece was supposed to be the whole shoulder circumference, whoops!! No wonder I had to insert extra bits. I'll have another go with some different fabric, I don't have enough of that fabric left to alter the one I've already done (I chopped up a Primark skirt!). At least you haven't resorted to web bond with your curtains...

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    2. I had a look at the tutorial - you're right about it being intended to have two ruffle pieces, each the length of your full shoulder circumference. When you make another blouse, also keep in mind that if you use less-drapey fabric, you probably want to keep the bodice a bit loose. The front and back pieces are identical (rather than having darts or other accommodation for the bust), so it might pull or hang funny if you "shave off" too many inches from the side.

      The front and back armscye are also identical. It might not matter a lot in this type of blouse (I haven't any like this). But if you move on to more complicated garments, this is helpful for understanding how the sleeve cap and armscye work together:
      http://www.ikatbag.com/2014/03/subtelties-in-drafting-sleeves.html

      Dee

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  3. I need to hem my curtains too... something I've so far put off for four months and will probably get to four years before I do something about it. Which will probably be sewing by hand because I am SO USELESS with a sewing machine. So really, I just keep on applauding your perseverance because you are a more patient and talented woman than me! I think you did a fab job, for what it's worth xx

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    1. It takes so much getting used to a machine! Every one is different, and there's so much to check, like the right tension and needle for whatever project you're doing. If you ever get a chance to attend a course, (preferably with small class numbers, I did big ones and they were a waste of money) then do it, because it will take an experienced sewer 2 minutes to sort your machine out and then you can get on with the sewing!! x

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  4. Oh I love that gingham top! I featured a 1940s top like that on my Vintage on the Web series and always planned to make myself one. I might just do that next summer, you've inspired me!

    It doesn't matter that it took you longer than Christina. She's an experience seamstress and your not, so I wouldn't expect you to do it as quick. And anyway, my crochet jumper took me three months to do, whereas I'm sure an experienced crocheter would probably do it in a matter of weeks. xx

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    1. I know, I know, I just have zero patience Cate!! I want to learn how to do everything NOW!!

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  5. The thing is to get started... and you did ! With great results. The gingham top is perfect.
    I have patterns and fabric and stuff to repair....

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    1. Oh gosh, don't even get me started on the 'repairs' pile!!

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  6. I'm very impressed by your sewing skills and your perseverance. I would have thrown in the towel after 10 minutes I'm sure.

    I really think that gingham blouse turned out lovely.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I think I am quite critical, I am leaning towards liking it a lot now...

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  7. Glad to see you carried on with the sewing. Both tops are cute! I'm not sure why you think the ruffle blouse isn't flattering, but shortening the ruffle a bit would change the proportions (I think it looks fine as is).

    I wouldn't worry about speed, just enjoy the process. I'd suggest looking through your vintage patterns for a simple skirt fitted only at the waist, a sleeveless top, or a shift dress. They are good for learning, shouldn't require a ton of fitting, and you won't have to fiddle with bias tape. Although you may get to a point where you enjoy hand sewing, it can be relaxing.

    You might look for sewing books at the library. Old ones are usually chock-full of good info. I like Nancy Zieman's books, too.

    I've found PatternReview.com to be a really good resource. You can join for free, and there are reviews of many, many patterns. You can see if people had a really easy time with the pattern, or if there were problems with it. And there are forums to ask questions.

    I'd be a bit cautious when purchasing from independent pattern lines for your future projects. I'm all for supporting small businesses, but I've been hearing an awful lot lately about mistakes and poor drafting. I was rather surprised to find out that a lot of them don't use trained patternmakers. It's seems that sometimes it's a case of people not having enough experience to even realize there are problems. I remember you mentioned wanting to try Colette patterns - I always liked the vintage-inspired look of their earlier patterns. Many of their patterns had serious drafting problems, and are supposed to be in the process of being fixed. They are also going to redesign their pattern block. To be frank, I think they ignored the problems for a long time. I'd wait to see if they get that sorted out, before purchasing patterns.

    I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, just save some trouble and the discouragement of thinking problems are due to your being new to sewing, when it might be problems with the patterns themselves. Best of luck, and have fun!

    Dee

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    1. Dee, thank you so much for such a helpful and considered response! I will be sure to check out the site you mention. I am keen to avail myself of all the resources I can possibly find. I do have a couple of really good sewing books - including the Vogue sewing guide, which someone once told me was the *bible* of sewing.

      I really like hand sewing actually, I have much more experience of that because I used to do embroidery and lace-making when I was younger, so I am much more confident by hand than using my machine. I only bought the machine about 5 years ago I think it was, and I haven't really used it that much so do find that I'm sometimes not getting things right like tension, needles etc. It's better though than it was, I no longer want to throw it out of the window, so that's progress!!

      Please stop by again in a little while, and hopefully I can share some more makes with you that are a bit more successful x

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    2. You're welcome! Starting on you own can be a bit of a slog. I have heard really good things about the Vogue sewing guide, I don't have that one.

      That's neat that you did embroidery and lace-making. I dabbled in embroidery (enjoyed it but didn't get too far), haven't gotten around to lace-making yet. There are so many different needlecrafts to try. :-)

      There are a lot of fiddly things to figure out with a machine. Not wanting to throw it out the window is definitely progress! :-) I think I still prefer hand sewing, though it doesn't suit for everything. Early on, I was able to borrow a treadle machine, and really enjoyed it. I found it easier to regulate the speed than on an electric machine, and the rhythm of the treadle was nice.

      I didn't want to accidentally leave you with the impression that there are problems with all independent patterns. I've heard good things about Style Arc, and Sewaholic, off the top of my head. Sewaholic drafts for a pear-shape figure, though.

      Looking forward to seeing what else you make! All your projects have been cute.

      Dee

      P.S. I really like your gingham top. I'm wondering if you were expecting a closer fit? If the fit still bothers you later on, you could probably take in the sides a bit and reattach the ties. That would result in shorter sleeves, too, though.


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  8. Hey, you can't get good without practice, right? And from the finished products I think you're making really big strides! I actually quite like that second top on you, maybe with a pair of high waist, fitted black pants? I do think you're right that that first one isn't the most flattering on you, but again, it's still worth the practice! Can't wait to see the 20s style dress, I hope you finish that soon.

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    1. I like your suggestion of the high waist black pants. Or high waist shorts maybe?

      The 20s dress is progressing, I'm tackling the hem currently (which I was lazy about first go and it shows, time to redo it!!)

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  9. You've done a wonderful job on both tops but I'm really loving that gingham blouse, I love the style of it! :)

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    1. It's kind of growing on me, I admit!

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  10. I quite like that wrap top, so maybe you should "let it rest" and consider it again next summer. I do admire your perseverance. I guess I would have given up a long time ago. Maybe, in a next life - or if I'm retired - I will learn how to sew. xxx

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    1. I think that's wise advice! It does require a bit of time, but I was too impatient to wait for my own retirement...

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  11. So glad to hear you are still working at the sewing! I think both projects came out well! I especially like the second top. And it's always good to learn new things even if it's by learning from your mistakes! Great job Porcelina!

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    1. Aw, thank you lovely! I do love learning, it's one of my key drivers in life. So I'm not ready to quite yet!!

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  12. Such cute tops! I have been struggling with sewing too but practice makes perfect!

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    1. It is hard isn't it Alisa? Let's keep going! We can do it!!

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  13. I really do love the gingham wrap top, so I hope you do keep wearing it. You are making really good things, and it is better for it to take you longer and get it right. I was so young when I started that I juts fudged everything and all my projects were dodgy and didn't get better! It's worth taking the time and learning properly.

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    1. Patience is not one of my qualities Tanith, but I guess I had better learn some!! I think I will wear the wrap top, I'll probably get excited when I rediscover it next summer.

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  14. I love both tops and they looks so versatile!! Great job. I really want to get back into sewing, I haven't had enough time but want to make time to do it soon... I keep adding to my fabric stash so I better get cracking x

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  15. I absoultely love that gingham wrap top, it looks fabulous on you! Happy sewing :-D

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  16. I've been sewing for years, and I'm still not always happy with how things turn out (and let's not mention "the pile" where half finished garments go to die. . . ) So- congratulations on these two garments! Good job on finishing them, and it's all learning, which will help when you go to make your next project. Can't wait to see how your 1920's dress turns out :)
    The Artyologist

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  17. It WILL get easier. I know this from knitting. There comes a point when things just click and you'll be zooming away.

    I'm impressed with what you're making now, frankly!

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  18. I do think that your gingham top turned out really cute! I have struggled a bit with the fit on mine as well ~ I'm not sure if you did this already, but I moved the ties higher up the sides of the square so that they tied on my waist rather than below it. If I had left them down where the original pattern suggests, I would have lost that nice nipped in waist look I love.

    But I think that it takes a little bit to get used the fit of the sleeves ~ by the very fact that they are formed out of the square and there's absolutely no shoulder shaping, it can change the way the fit looks. The body of your top looks lovely and the sleeves look right to me so well done! I think you did a great job.

    It will get easier with practise; hang in there! ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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