Tag Archives: vintage-inspired

shirt hacks & wish lists

yoke pleat & matching sleeve top

cuff are offThe shirt renovation continues.   Slo-o-o-wly.

Took a page or two from Diane Ericson’s YouTube video, and removed cuffs, then pinned in pleats on the yoke, just atop the sleeves.

Am still thinking about them, and trying on from time to time to see if anything else comes to thought. Meanwhile . . .

D’you ever make a list of very important stuff, file it, and forget about it for months?

I do.

Clearing out files last weekend, I found another.

Saw a book that looked fascinating, researched it a bit, and discovered my library had a copy. Whee!

Just Pockets by Patricia Moye, [🇬🇧 Amazon UK & 🇺🇸 Amazon US] published by Taunton (a good U.S. crafts publishing house).

After looking through it, I decided to put a clean, used copy on my Wish List.

Then I got a wee bit sidetracked . . . into Colette’s blog. She’s got more reference books.

Categories include Beginners, General Reference, Fabric & Textiles, Fitting, Home Pattern-making, Details & Embellishments, Menswear, Lingerie, Other Specialty Techniques

There’s another list just for beginners.

Just had to share ~ hope everyone enjoys!

pattern boundaries? or am i too intense?

set of 3-fronts
set of 3-fronts

Spotted this immediately . . .

. . . after walking through the door,  . . .

. . .  so I grabbed it.





😢  Nooooo . . . .

label close-up

After several moments of incredulity, astonishment, and delight . . . I started reading. Oh.  They’re notebooks.

Lovely Sewing Readers ~

Does this push boundaries too far?
Am I getting too intense??
Is there such a thing???


American sewers can keep their eyes peeled, possibly in several chain stores. (🇺🇸 $12.95)

Sorry, but I don’t know about elsewhere… however they do list a U.K. price of 🇬🇧£9.99 so there’s hope.

Had time to do a quick search – shh, don’t tell!

Amazon US & UK list this and note cards in similar designs, as well as McCall’s/Butterick (it’s the same company these days, plus Vogue).

Cost Plus World Market
Vintage McCall’s Patterns Notebooks, Set of 3
SKU#  504152
“Set of 3 notebooks fastened with twine
Include 64 pages each”
6″W x 8.5″L

WordPress Photo Challenge
Ailsa’s Travel Theme

sewing, sorting, & baking

Well, I could blame it on witness 2 fashion

She did a great post about pyjamas!

But truth be told, have been thinking about them since Ali’s jumpsuit challenge in May somehow combined in my head with my 2 pair of sleep shorts (here & here) that I’ve worn constantly (indoors only!) this summer.

After making that third pair (top), it seemed natural to give a whole outfit a try. If I could just get back to finishing this blouse’s sleeves… Definitely don’t want to keep that neck binding, either. Too stiff by half! Meanwhile, mending summer & getting out transitional continues. . . 😴

Decorating for Autumn? Hallowe’en? Look at all the lovely patterns over on Pattern Patter.

Spent time last week sorting & labeling haberdashery and fabrics. Makes  final fabric sorting much easier. (click a pic to see the whole photo)

Thinking about baking? Know I am, partly because we’re finally getting to see “The Great British Bake Off.” But . . .

In their infinite wisdom (?), American public broadcasting services (pbs) is airing seasons chronologically. Backwards. And they re-named the programme: The Great British Bake Off is “The Great British Baking Show” over here.

Here’s a key to what’s what on our side of the pond.

  • British Series 5 was shown here as Series 1 in early 2015, and is currently being re-run.
  • British Series 4 is currently showing in U.S. as Series 2.

I discovered that both Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood have written scads of cook books, and both have lots of listings on YouTube.

Wednesday is the official start of Northern Hemisphere’s cooler seasons, and it can’t begin soon enough for me! How about you?

Edited to add: If you haven’t seen Did You Make That’s post today, do! It’s all about fitting.

a bit of summing up

Thought there’d be a post about a blouse (Butterick 5432) to match the rayon pedal pushers (left) I love so much. Had enough fabric & decided I needed one.

But sadly no, other events overtook it before I got the sleeves finished & a piccie taken.

Will make do with some bits & pieces ~ although to be fair, there’s been mending going on, but I shan’t bore you with that.  LOL!



Another idea for that digital pink …

Do you think something similar to the Stardust Skirt from Decades of Style would work?

Tanya, over at Mrs. Hughes, has a fantastic version that got me thinking.

If you use IG (I don’t but peek every blue moon), here’s another

Don’t know that I’d cut out & appliqué the pattern, as I’m always pushed for time (and basically lazy). 😉

the wooden yard stick is above the 1 complete pattern rep
the wooden yard stick is above the 1 complete pattern rep

However, the 30″ skirt length would definitely allow for the pattern’s height.

I’d place the skirt panels along the pattern’s bottom edge, similar to their layout, which gave me the idea.

Those pieces would need to be on the straight grain, but hopefully I could position them very close together.

Do you think it would work?

Am still dithering, but leaning, definitely leaning . . .

What’s up for my weekend? Who knows!

Hope yours will be relaxing and productive.


Update: Just posted some city photos over on my other blog…

about that teal/green/turquoise rayon . . . the one with that 30’s pattern!

It’s Saturday, and a holiday weekend for the U.S., in honor of labor (labour for those in other countries).

It generally marks the unofficial/official end of summer: pools close, everyone in New York City & Chicago get out their (fake) furs, and everyone everywhere puts away summer straw hats, thongs, and shorts in favour of warmer things…

Not so everywhere, as more 90’s with corresponding humidity are forecast for the coming week.

Which makes me glad I finally got round to making these lounge pants-that-may-become-shorts, depending on how hot it gets and how I feel.

Believe it or not it was almost fun doing the French seams. Felt strange to stitch wrong sides together, and I almost got that curved seam wrong, but managed to bend my mind the right way to set things straight!

I took my time with this make, and hopefully didn’t disgrace meself too badly. What’s your verdict, Samantha? Can I graduate to a kimono?!

old & new dress forms


Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, with Diva's dress form behind her
Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, with Diva’s dress form behind her.

I came across this scene of Miss Mapp sitting in front of Diva’s sewing room, dress form behind her.

It reminded me that there have been 2 distinctly different dress forms, the older one, below, is probably based on a Gold dress form, and looks more like real people’s bodies.

from my library Mary Brooks Picken's Singer Sewing Book
from my library
Mary Brooks Picken’s Singer Sewing Book

The current forms, one of which is the Wolf brand, is based on a figure about 10 heads high, and not proportioned for many of us.

I’ve been searching the web for a Gold dress form, but so far, no luck.

Getting back to Mapp and Lucia briefly, I learned Friday that BBC started a new version in 2014.

Checked amazon, and they’re not out yet in the DVD format we use here in North America.  Am grateful I was able to plug into YouTube and watch all 3 episodes during the door-painting.

Great way to sit through paint drying!

As you see on the upper left, my door was painted a lovely shade of blue.

dress & look slender: disguising figure irregularities

Ever thought about clothing as a way to overcome figure irregularities? I sure have!

I’m learning there are basic art principles I can use when choosing patterns, fabrics, colours, and accessories to disguise the bits I wish weren’t there.

Here’s an entire book about applying these principles to dress:

Dress and Look Slender, by Jane Warren Wells (also listed under Mary Brooks Picken), 1924; Personal Arts Company; available on Cornell University’s HEARTH collection.

You might look at the Table of Contents first, to see which chapter(s) you’d like to see. (The examples below are from “Lines that Slenderize and Lines That Don’t,” in the first chapter.)

Hint!  I always re-read the Help section because I forget how to navigate their system. 😉

I wish there were a more up-to-date book to recommend, but they’d be under copyright, and the principles would be the same. Hope you don’t mind the vintage-ness.

click any picture to go directly to the source

page 18

Dress & Look Slender p 18

page 19

Dress & Look Slender p19

page 22

Dress & Look Slender p22

page 23

Dress & Look Slender p23


Blackberries on sale last weekend . . .

Fan tucks (darts). Use as a decorative feature on the outside or inside of the garment. Mark where tucks are to be and run them by hand or machine.”  The Simplicity Sewing Book for Beginners and Experts, 1945; page 33.   (from my personal library)

Witness to Fashion blog ~ This post (see last 4 pics) really inspired me to give neckline darts (al.k.a. fan tucks, above) a try soon, maybe with embroidery thread. . .

She also has a great post about reality vs. fashion illustrations’ illusions. See how models disguised wide hips, and learn design details to draw the eye away from problem areas. Suggestions I can certainly use.  😍

Time for a catch-up . . . click any piccie to go into slide show & comment areas


let’s talk fit (or, Lagenlook 2)

Getting serious about this Vogue 8813 pattern ~
How the heck is it gonna fit?

Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about.
Hope you’ll grab a cuppa and come along!

considering – fit
I keep remembering Gale Grigg Hazen’s book, Fantastic Fit for Every Body. Don’t know about you, but I’m not flat as a pancake. This book shows how to make & use a 3-dimensional croquis. And might be something I need to think about a bit more with this Lagenlook pattern.

Moving on . . .

considering – proportion
Trolled back in me memory banks and ” bulging columns” came to mind, and something about that being a better proportion to the eye. That roused my curiosity (I’ve got bulges), and I went further. After all, a body is like a column and we want the best-looking one we can get – right?!

According to Wikipedia, ancient Greek architectural principles “gave … a sense of proportion, culminating in understanding the proportions of the greatest work of art: the human body…”

And . . .

Columns, again from Wiki: “The design of most classical columns incorporates entasis (the inclusion of a slight outward curve in the sides) plus a reduction in diameter along the height of the column, so that the top is as little as 83% of the bottom diameter. This reduction mimics the parallax effects which the eye expects to see, and tends to make columns look taller and straighter than they are while entasis adds to that effect.”

  • “Outward curve in the sides” could be applied to a body
  • Having a slightly smaller top than bottom could be accomplished, with hair-do, or a tunic
  • Might beef up a base with boots or leggings

There are three basic kinds of columns, and Corinthian might be most applicable to clothing: “the most ornate of the orders, characterized by fluted columns… ”

A-ha! Use gathers or pleats from top to bottom to elongate the body line.

And that reminded me of Fortuny’s Delphos dresses, so . . . .

Below are three examples.
Click any to go to its source
And ask yourself ~

  • Does the wearer look good?
  • What’s the wearer’s actual body type?
  • What makes the dress look good?
“Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949), Silk Pleated “Delphos” Gown in Champagne with Murano Glass Beadwork, c. 1910, Venice Italy, Estimate $4,000-5,000”
“Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949), Silk Pleated “Delphos” Gown in Champagne with Murano Glass Beadwork, c. 1910, Venice Italy, Estimate $4,000-5,000”


Breaking all those rules? Hmmm – maybe that extra fabric at the base gives it more weight.
Do I like that cinched waist? Not for me! But somehow everything does work . . . do like that shoulder effect  . . .


"Mrs. Condé Nast wearing one of the famous Fortuny tea gowns. This one has no tunic but is finely pleated, in the Fortuny manner, and falls in long lines, closely following the figure, to the floor."
“Mrs. Condé Nast wearing one of the famous Fortuny tea gowns. This one has no tunic but is finely pleated, in the Fortuny manner, and falls in long lines, closely following the figure, to the floor.”


If this “has no tunic” then what’s that darker fabric on either side of the torso?
Whatever it is, I think it helps the overall effect. . .
Real rounded tummy certainly there . . . smaller top . . .


“Delphos dress and evening jacket, Mariano Fortuny, about 1920. Museum no. T.423-1976 & T.424-1976”
“Delphos dress and evening jacket, Mariano Fortuny, about 1920. Museum no. T.423-1976 & T.424-1976”

 D-R-A-M-A-T-I-C !
Don’t notice body shape, pleats, much detail except the dramatic deep red against the black.
Overall line, from shoulder to bottom tip of dress does move outward , , ,
Architectural shapes in middle are interesting – could be a good camouflage?