Megan’s Wedding

Here it is well over a yr since my last post and at least that since I’ve sewn any patterns!  I am so flattered my cousin asked my girls to be flower girls in her wedding and even more excited that she asked me to sew/design their dresses. The colors are navy blue and silver and I plan on tucking in a peek of pink underneath.

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The pattern is McCalls 2210- girls party dress from 1953. I sewed this pattern before with 3-d rose chiffon but I did not do the under pettiskirt and I shortened the under slip to enhance the 3-d rose material.

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For this one, I plan on doing a very full pettiskirt as pictured in view A. The material is navy satin, silver sparkle satin, and crenoline in pink and sparkle silver (layered). Lots of fabric bling.

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The pattern calls for a full slip with attached pettiskirt that is sewn into the dress. I’m changing my design to a detached pettiskirt so the girls can play dress up. I layered 4 pinks and 4 silver crenoline cuts and gathered each individually. I then layered them on the dress form and stitched them all together with the serger.

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I attached elastic at the waist and then finished the raw edge with bias tape (thanks Grandmom Otto for all that tape)! Now we have the poof.

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For the bodice, I dart and sew the pieces which are far too many. Yes, I needed the seam ripper. The pattern instructions pretty much just said to “make the pieces” and give a drawing. Then turn and press.
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Make skirt, gather and attach to bodice. I serged it for a clean finish.
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Determine length then attach scalloped part at bottom that will fold up onto the dress. Fold under edge of scallops iron and baste.
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Fold it up and sew around. Iron a lot.
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Hem pettiskirt (cut and left a raw edge).

Jackie O So Cute

I’m jumping foward a decade into the late 60’s because I am particularly drawn to two styles from this period: capes and a line dresses with a short hemline.

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The pattern is Simplicity 5480: Girls Cape Dress Coat from 1972 , size 3. I wanted the cape to be warm so I chose a heavy weight wool and lined the cape with the wool as well. The fabric is primarily red and black plaid with a touch of yellow. I thought this would look fantastic for a Christmas cape. The pattern its self is so simple consisting of just 2 pattern pieces. I trimmed the arm openings in black ribbon and accented with two vintage style black and silver floral buttons and closed with a single hook and eye closure. I love this style because it will fit the girls for many years to come!

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The second pattern is Simplicity pattern number 7403: Little Girl’s A line Dress with Pleat from 1967, size 4. I found a blue/purple polka dot lawn cotton (very fine and lightweight, 100% cotton). I found a matching chiffon flutter flower trim to accent the pleated panel on the front of the dress. I orginally thought of making this dress out of red santa velvet trimmed in white fur. Maybe a later project.

Cut and pin flowers to front. There is a long hidden pleat that will open between the double flower strip. Add zipper and sleeves and done. Now to convince my girls that this is so much more fashionable than their Disney Ariel princess tutu dress.

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Baby Bugs

5/13/13-The woman who bought the dress was kind enough to send me professional photos that were taken of the little girl wearing my dress! Just adorable.

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I was recently contacted to sew a custom pinafore for a 14 month old baby girl. The dress will be her fliower girl gown in a wedding. I’m very excited about this for two reasons: I’ve never sewn a garment for use in a wedding or made a pinafore this small!

This dress was originally designed by a past customer who wanted to re-create a pinafore she remembered wearing as a child in the 50’s. I left the design of the gown in her hands and drew up a series of sketches matching her description of her long-lost dress. This is where the white organza pinafore with the lady bug insert and red rick rack trim on tall ruffles over an all white pettiskirt came about. Oh, and did I mention 3″ hem and very large sash?

I’m working with McCalls pattern number 1605, child’s ruffled pinafore from 1951 size six. I had to majorly shrink down the pattern tissue both horizontally and vertically to fit a one year old. Suprisingly, I had no problems with the conversion (thanks to my customer for providing great measurements). Essentially, a pinafore is a dress that can be worn over many different dresses. This style is a two layer dress containing the outer pinafore and the under pettiskirt. Both pieces button into one another.

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First I laid out my bib insertion design then pieced them together. Symmetry is key!

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I then started with the pettiskirt and making the continuous lap (opening to the back of the skirt). Now, when I first worked continuous laps, I thought I would never make such perfect openings as my Mam-maw had. The dresses she made me as a little girl: the laps were flat and perfect. I’m happy with these laps; my best yet.

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So I continue on to gather the skirt with the use of my ruffler a/k/a P.I.A. This tool is a blessing and a curse. It completely omits the old-fashioned basting stitch and pulling the threads to create your gathers but you have no idea how much it will gather. I like a uniform look so I always use it. Anyhow, I had to regather the skirt 3 times. I’ve had worse. I attach the bib to the waist band and soon that will connect to the skirt.

I’ve also done this with the organza lady bug bib and skirt. The organza skirt is very full since the nature of the material is sturdy and full of movement.

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Next I work the ruffles and finish one edge with a rolled edge on my serger and stitch the rick rack over top of that. Back to the gathering foot to ruffle the strips. They really bunch up!
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The ruffles are then pinned flat to the shoulder strap pieces; two per strap. I fold them inside the strap and stitch it closed leaving ends open to turn inside out. I use a hook pulling tool. They look like long sausages and are packed tightly!
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And out come all the lovely ruffles.
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I sew the straps directly onto the bib and attach to waistband. This bib is pinned to the organza skirt and I serge off a nice neat edge.
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Bib is attached to skirt and done! Ready to mail.

The Perfect Panties

Victoria’s Secret has the perfect bra- this is the perfect pantie. Every little girl should own a pair of silk batiste panties. The fabric speaks for its self.


Simplicity Sewing Pattern...Girl's Slip Petticoat and Panties...from the 1950s...Age 3

I started another slip pattern that is a decade later than my other slip pattern. This one is Simplicity p  pattern 3296 from 1950’s. In addition to the benefit of working with a printed pattern and using elastic, you get a lot of ruffles in the 50’s.

I am working on the pettiskirt slip and the panties both of which are covered in long strips of ruffles trimmed in beading. I am using silk batiste and a champagne colored satin trim. The waist and leg openings are bunched with elastic. I’m going to get a twin shot of the girls in the slips.

The Perfect Pinafore

McCall 1605 Girls 1950s Ruffled Shoulder Pinafore Dress Detachable Petticoat Childrens Vintage Sewing Pattern Breast 24 UNCUT

I decided to make another pinafore because this is the item that I am contacted about most. I’ve made these dresses several times from a variety of materials and I am happy with the look each time.

This is McCall’s pattern #1605 from 1951.  It makes a pinafore dress (outer) with an attached pettiskirt (interior) that buttons into the pinafore creating one dress. Several different pinafores can be used over a single pettiskirt. The pettiskirt ensures fullness to the pinafore giving it that classic full skirt. The pattern enlarges and reduces size easily and is very simple to read despite the double layer and exact button matching. This dress has a total of 8 buttons connecting the dresses.

I used red linen and white cotton with a strip of vintage red and blue floral strip in the bib with a red scallop trim.

Slip Happy

Vintage McCall Child's Set of  Underwear Pattern 5443--Slip and Onesie-Size 3--from 1943--Rare

I began McCall’s vintage child’s slip and underwear pattern #5543 from year 1943.
This is an oldie but goodie. I just love that these are called underwear. I’m working on the onesie slip (shorts).

I have cut this onesie slip pattern and plan on trying it on one of the girls – mostly out of curiosity. The garment has a very interesting double continuous lap on the sides of the shorts. It also has an interesting “French door” style of opening at the two back panels. These pieces open and close and button onto the waistband. I’m using silk Batiste but any light/thin fabric such as polished cotton or lawn will prove the same result. I’m using double thickness on the fabric so you can’t see through.

It’s hard to believe this pattern is 80 years old and really in such great condition. I’ve actually worked with patterns that have crumbled. I’m working with a non-printed pattern with holes for direction. Wish me luck on getting this double lap and back door opening. If I can figure it out, this surely will be an interesting garment.

Pretty in Pink

Adorable vintage 50's 60's Simplicity Pattern 2892 Infant Toddler Child Playsuit Bonnet Shorts Size 1

I was eager to start a new sunsuit since the last one I made turned out so cute. This one is Simplicity’s pattern 2892 infant toddler playsuit, bolero, and bonnet. I find this pattern so attractive because it is one piece that folds like an old-fashioned diaper and buttons to a bib.

I decided to use soft pink featherwhale corduroy. I love featherwhale or sometimes called fine whale because the ribbing is smaller and thus the nap of the material is thinner, lightweight, and more appropriate for small children. I used a white crochet trim around the whole piece finished with pearl bear buttons. Hidden seams throughout. I’m finishing up the matching bonnet.

Since this was a 1950 pattern, it was simple to work. All pieces marked and printed instructions that take you through step by step. What I love about post 1950 patterns is that they use ELASTIC! Anything pre this date will call for a continuous lap that is fitted so exact that there is no room for error.

Duck, Duck, Goose

6/12-The sunsuit is done- just need to fit buttons. I added an extra row of ruffles which really fills out the rear- you can never have enough bottom ruffles! This is one of my favorite patterns.


I decided to redo the ruffle sunsuit in yellow. I want Jane to wear this sunsuit and she looks so beautiful in yellow with all that blond hair. It is the same concept as the previous but with yellow crochet trim, yellow duck embroidered and I decided to trim the ruffles in a yellow rolled edge. A rolled edge on my serger is one of my favorite stitches in conjunction with the ruffler foot on my sewing machine. It certainly can create a nice ruffle effect without having to finish the edges.

I use a 4 thread serger by brother. You will find that if you are really into sewing- a serger really is a nice tool to have. Just be prepared to take a half hour to thread the darn thing!

Georgous Goddess

6/12-Complete with sash. This is one beautifully romantic gown.

6/8- The dress fitting is complete and worked out very well. I’m happy with the dress and how beautiful the little girl is in this dress. This is one romantic gown and will sell as a flower girl or wedding/party dress. I will have a bouquet of flowers for the little girl in the photo shoot. The buttons on the back are a lovely pearl color. Finishing the waist sash and this dress is done.


6/7-When in doubt- change it. I was not happy with the cream muslin bodice. It just looked dingy to me. I changed it to white cotton and added crochet trim around the neck. I also kept the tank top straps. I’m going to do a big long sash that ties to a big bow in the back and hangs to the length of the dress. I’m taking it to the little girl tomorrow for a fitting- let’s hope it fits!

6/5- I still need to hem and add buttons. I’m not sure about the sash. I need for the little girl to try it on. I initially wanted a sash around the waist that was very long and hung to the floor. I still feel like there is something missing here. I’m unsure about this dress.

Progress thusfar. Much gathering to do….

McCall's 2210 Vintage 50s Lovely Flower Girl or Confirmation DRESS Sewing Pattern Size 6 B24

I began McCall’s 2210 party dress pattern from 1953. Pattern making in the 50’s certainly has improved – they have started printing on the pattern pieces as opposed to the earlier 40’s patterns riddled with puncture holes. No more deciphering different hole sizes or second guessing is this hole bigger than this one? These patterns are very similar to the patterns we know today. I will mention that there is still a section designated to “fitting chubby girls”. It begins the paragraph “For these children” like they are so different. We would never see this wording today.

I am making this dress for the young girl who will be modeling for me. It is a ballerina length (hits mid-shin) party dress. It has a full underskirt with an overlay and a bodice with a scalloped overlay as well. It is pictured in organdy and satin this is fancy stuff.

So I’m going to change it up a bit. First, I’m going to use cream-colored muslin for the bodice and under dress. Then for the overdress I will use this wonderful 3-D rose material in cream. The whole dress will flutter in the breeze as each petal is attached separately to hidden netting.

I laugh at my progress to this point because this looks like a toga! Much more to be done so no need to fret.