Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Review: VINTAGE COUTURE TAILORING by Stephanie of Star Cross Sewing Blog

I came across another tailoring book review by Stephanie of Star Cross Sewing Blog.  I am certainly enjoying following her study and application of tailoring techniques and samples.

Anyway, the Title is Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas von Nordheim and you can find Stephanie's review Here,

You can get a preview/sneak peak of the book published in 2012 on Amazon here: page to find the preview
(disclaimer: this is not an affiliate link).

Often when I come across book reviews in my blog roll I will post links to them here for my own reference and for my reader's convenience.  

Book Review -- The Singer Sewing Series: Tailoring by Stephanie at Star Cross Sewing Blog

Stephanie at Star Cross Sewing Blog has written a nice review of the The Singer Sewing Series: Tailoring: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Beautiful Customized Garment

Star Cross Review of Tailoring

I have this book as well but have not opened it in awhile as it has been a long time since I have attempted any serious tailoring.  I seem to live in knits these days.

At any rate, it is a good review, you get a glimpse of the pictures and content of the book and she describes their approach which is pretty interesting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: "Coat Making At Home" by Margaret Smith written by Caroline Amanda of Sewholic (Link)


I have an enduring love of vintage sewing manuals.  This blog seems a perfect place to link to reviews of them for future reference.  Caroline has written a lovely review and homage of a publication of the US Department of Agriculture Farmer's Bulletin.  I hope to run into other publications by that author and "Clothing Specialist."

If you haven't seen this review of a vintage sewing manual by Sewholic, here is the link:

Coat Making At Home In 1941

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review: End of Fashion by Teri Agins written by The Slapdash Sewist. (Link)


The Sewing Scholar is alert for all things scholarship and loves a good book review.  The Slapdash Sewist has written a fantastic review of End of Fashion by Teri Agins.  Please link and read and be glad you saved your money.


http://theslapdashsewist.blogspot.com/2014/09/book-review-end-of-fashion-by-teri-agins.html

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Volume 1, Chapter 4: Assembling, Fitting .... Part 1

Chapter Four starts out talking about fit, how important it is to fit the garment so it is flattering and that it is done correctly without shortcuts.  Presumably you have already done some adjustments to the pattern so it has wide enough circumference and length.  Basically, the writer feels that it is important to baste the garment together -- darts first, then seams, baste pockets to the garment after seams are sewn to ensure they are positioned in the best place.  She also suggests basting the zipper in first to ensure correct neck fit.   It is better and easier to unpick a basting stitch than a construction stitch.  Correct sewing technique is also important to make your clothes last longer and look good. 

 Page 88 digresses into fashion history-- the evolution of pockets, buttons and buttonholes, pleats, hems and zippers.  Then on page 90 there is a blurb about hemlines and Wall Street-- higher skirts when times are flush and longer when times are tough.  There is a pretty cool picture of skirt lengths through the decades although it seems like even though the 1950's was prosperous, skirts were still longer than the 1940s (due to fabric shortages in the 40's probably but then that contradicts the whole theory).

My take on this is that while there are some great productivity shortcuts that can be employed when sewing garments, it is probably best to use those with tried and true (TNT) patterns that have already been fitted.  You can even trim out the seam allowances to 3/8's inch to eliminate lots of trimming and clipping.  But with a new pattern, it is probably better to follow the advice in the book-- but I like to just baste a muslin together first before I cut my fashion fabric.  Once all your changes have been applied to the paper pattern, you are golden until you have some weight/size changes in which you have to start all over again.  If you are like me and have frequent weight fluctuations, you might want to write the date, your weight and key measurements (bust, hip) on the pattern and save it as you might see that size again.  Sometimes shooting a picture and putting it in the pattern is good too.  The best way to get better at sewing techniques is to practice them.  Which is kind of a pain as I would rather be making something rather than doing drills.  But once you do 10 welt pockets or bound buttonholes, they become less difficult or intimidating.  Yesterday I was at the Salvation Army and looked at a short sleeved top made from the 70's in that thick polyester.  It had bound buttonholes!  Totally unexpected.

The next section in this chapter gives an overview on putting different key garments together-- dress, shirt, women's blouse, skirt, women's pants, men's pants.  The author does not delve into technique here.  This would be a cool exercise to do with the TNT wardrobe sew-alongs, 6-packs, and SWAPs going on this year.  The overviews are basically order of assembly directions.  What is neat is they give little advices for example, on page 97 at Step B for the skirt assembly, it tells you to baste the darts if there are any, baste the seams and try on the skirt.  The next step says "if the waist dart is too short, it will pucker at the tip when tried on and the skirt will have extra fabric at the hip or abdomen.  Correct it by placing a pin 1 1/2 inches above the fullest part of the upper hip or abdomen indicated by an "x" on the drawing (as usual nicely shaded drawings illustrate all the garment construction steps) and tapering the dart to the pin, Re-baste the dart."  The description then goes on to tell you what to do if the dart is too long or if it points in the wrong direction.

The pictures in this chapter of which I have shown 2 of them are very 70's cool.  I love the cream skit and the flip hairdo.  I think today, that would be too much cream and probably too covered up--turtleneck with long-sleeved overshirt?  I would wear a different color jacket but the garment styles are still relevant and would not look out of order today.

The drawings of the different garments for the assembly directions are in 2 tone blue with black stitch lines to illustrate the seam lines similar to the old McCalls two color pattern instructions from the 1970s.  They title the clothing items as "The Classic Dress and show one with bust darts and one with princess seams, "The Classic Shirt" which could be a man's shirt or a woman's shirt but has no collar stand nor bust dart, "The Classic Blouse" which has sleeves gathered at a smaller cuff and bust darts, "The Classic Skirt" which allows for pleats and/or darts and a waistband and zipper also another model with a front closure; "The Classic Women's Pants" with darts, zippers, waistband, no waistband/facing and pockets; "The Classic Men's Pants" with the standard fly, pocket and waistband.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

V1C3 Using Scissors and Marking Wheel and More!


With all the different scissors out there it can be confusing to a new sewer as to what is actually needed.  Three basic scissors should be sufficient to make any garment.  There are left-handed versions as well as the standard right.  I suggest two different marking wheels to transfer pattern markings--one for wovens whose wheel is notched, one for knits in which the wheel is smooth.


For cutting your fabric a 8 to 10 inch pair of  bent-handeled dressmaker's shears will cover any job. Also a 5-6 inch pair of scissors can be best used to precision clip into curves and smaller areas. Pinking shears are used for finishing raw seam edges but one can forgo this pair if you have a serger or seam edge stitch on your sewing machine. Today, I often use a rotary cutter but such new-fangled items were not "invented" as of 1973.

Click to enlarge


Cutting straight lings: Open the shears wide and taking the fabric the entire length of the blade. Cut with one long steady closure for a smooth edge (No Snippy Choppy motions!  Just smooth and efficient shear).

If there is a pattern piece that is difficult to access to cut correctly, cut around pattern, leaving margin of fabric so you can handle it and do a better job with cutting it without a problem. See Picture of sleeve above.



For Curves:  open the scissors halfway and don't quite close them all the way while cutting to avoid jagged lines. Your goal is a smooth curve.

Right Angles:  Cut along one line, then remove scissores and approach other line to the point where the lines meet.  Do not swivel at the corners, you want a crisp true angle.

Clipping-- Use the 5 or 6 inch scissors and snip curves, small details and notches with the tips of the blades.  Don't open them all the way so you have better control over the depth of the cut.

Pinking-- Open shears wide and close smoothly along the unfinished edges of the seam.



click to enlarge.

Marking:  Utilize the marking wheels with the transfer paper.  Run a saw-tooth wheel over the pattern markings (the transfer paper is layered with transfer medium down on top of wrong side of top fabric under pattern paper and a sheet facing up on the wrong side of the bottom fabric-- the pattern paper on top of all.-- See image A)

Here is an image of a dart marked on the fabric:

Thread Traced Marking
I would not necessarily mark the button placement until trying on the garment and placing them where they fit me the best.

Using Pins instead of tracing wheel and transfer paper:




V1C3 Arranging Pattern on Fabric for Cutting Out.

Your have selected a pattern, you have made fitting alterations and your fabric decisions have been made, it is prepared and aligned, you know how to cut and mark the pattern pieces-- time to lay out the pattern on the fabric to cut the pattern pieces.  Don't forget to press the folds out of your pattern pieces first and make sure your fabric is not wrinkled.


In the majority of projects, you will fold the fabric in half lengthwise with selvedges on one side and fold on the other.    This works perfectly fine with solid fabrics and non-repeating prints.  The book recommends that the selvedges be pinned together at 1-2 inch intervals.  I don't think I would ever do that unless I was nervous about a shifty fabric. The fabric can be folded crosswise if the pattern pieces are too wide for the lengthwise layout. Be careful of directional prints with this option.  In some cases your pattern layout directions may require you to cut some items from doubled fabric and others from single thickness.

Plaids and repeating prints will require additional fabric to match them.

Every pattern has directions in which recommended layouts or cutting diagrams are pictured. You may follow this but you don't have to. You may decide a more thriftier layout for the fabric or in the event your fabric shrunk more than you expected and you have to less to work with.


The most important factor in laying out your pattern is making certain your pattern piece grainlines match the grainlines in the fabric.

The best way to ensure this is to measure from the grain line to the edge of the fabric so that the grain line is always the same distance to the edge from top to bottom.  Some may choose to extend their grainline on the their fabric from top to bottom by drawing it in with a ruler and pen.



Striped, large checked and plaid fabrics will need to be folded more carefully- the foldline should fall exactly halfway through a stripe or check and use pins through the top layer of fabric where the check lines intersect or stripe edges are --matching the bottom layer by folding the fabric back to check placement adjusting as you go.  Keep pinning throrughout until edges are pinned.

Take pattern pieces and pin those that need to be placed on the fold --aligned those on the fold and arrange the other pieces measure to the edge of fabric as described above.


Dress or shirt --To make the design match where the pattern pieces are supposed to be seemed together, make sure the numbered notches that will be matched up together when seamed lie on the same position relative to the checks or stripes in this order:  1.side seams, 2. armhole and sleeve seams, 3. Underarm seams. (see first square in illustration above).  You can number your notches to make it easier. Remember to always align the grainlines of the pattern to the fabric before securing with pins.  But remember, it is possible to be too matchy.

Label  side notches on all pieces "1".  Label the front  armscye and front part of shoulder cap "2".  Label the back armscye and back armscye "3".

On a skirt: label the side seam notches "1", the front waistband and the front top "2" and the back waistband and top of back of the skirt "3". Then place pattern on fabric, positioning those numbered notches in similar axis/to design.  See pic 2.

On a pair of pants:  Label the side seams "1", the inseam  notches "2" .  Cut the waistband on the bias so not to worry to make a match.  Pin pieces at notches, ensuring the grain is lined up for all pieces and the notches are at evens with their mates.  see pic 3.