Thursday, 31 March 2011

Done with the sleeves, on with the buttonholes

I got all the machine sewing done today with my 70's Sweetness dress. The sleeves that I was a bit terrified to set in (propably because of the misfortune with the Swing Dress) actually went in without any problems. That is I only had to undo one little bit of the other sleeve seam because I had sewn it together with some bodice fabric (lol). 

Setting the sleeves with my trusted Jack the Seam Ripper by my side.

I sew the skirt pieces together and how easy what that! The skirt is a dirndl skirt so there was two rectangular pieces to sew together. After that it was time to gather the skirt waist and attach it to the bodice pieces. The gathering took some time because there was so much to gather, but in the end the seams were sewn together nice and neat. So after finishing the last zigzag seams on the skirt and bodice there's only handsewing left to do. 

Gathering the skirt.

I sew the side zipper in by hand to get a bit more practice on that technique. And then I started sewing the buttonholes. My intention was to follow Sunni's tutorial but in the end I followed the instructions from an old Finnish sewing book. The instructions are basically the same, but they don't require any special threads or gimps. I ended up using a double thread to ensure that the stiches were neat. I started at the bottom of the bodice because I figured that the first ugly ones would be easily covered with a belt and the last perfect ones would be the ones in the spot light (lol!). I've done three now, and it seems that it will truely become a line of evolution in button hole binding.
Handpicked zipper needing some ironing.
The evolution of the buttonholes. The best one so far on top.

The thread I used in the buttonholes is a find from my granny's stash. It's a 100 per cent cotton thread called "Rosethread" by Vaasan puuvilla. The factory was closed in 1964 but the thread is like new.

Mekko edistyy kovaa vauhtia ja enää jäljellä on käsin ommeltavat viimeistelyt. Sain tänään tehtyä hihojen istutuksen ja hameen poimutuksen ja yhdistämisen yläosaan. Vetoketjun ompelin jo käsin ja läpinlävet ovat työn alla. Lisäksi aion viimeistellä hihat ja  helman käsin totuttuun tapaan. Käytin lapinläpien ompeluun vanhan käsityökirjan ohjeita:

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Progress on the Pink Sweetness Dress (hereby called)

I got so much done today! Yay me! I started on the Stil 8777 dress yesterday. I traced the pattern pieces and cut them from the muslin fabric. Today I made the muslin, alterations and almost the entire bodice piece!The first muslin wasn't much of a looker; the neckline was too wide and it dragged to the sides. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to show you, the sun wasn't my friend today when I tried to photo the muslins. I did a few little tweeks: widened the neck darts and straightened the shoulderline by taking 1 cm of. The muslin was pretty perfect after this. I then started to trace the patterns on the underlining cotton. The downside for me with this pattern (and all the Stil patterns) is the fact that it doesn't have seam allowances on the pattern pieces. Therefore there aren't any notches either. So I added the seam allowances and of course when it was time to cut the cotton I cut one of the sleeve pieces along the seamline not the seam allowance line. Luckily this was the underlining cotton so it was only a matter of doing things anew.

Tracing the patterns on my drawing table aka ironing board.
I followed Gertie's tutorial on the underlining except I didn't handbaste the pieces together. I don't trust my handbasting skills. Instead I used a ton of pins and machine basted the pieces together here and there. For example I sew a row of stiches in the middle of the darts and in the curved bits. This way the stiches worked also as a staystich. Don't be alarmed with the yellow lines, they don't show on the right side and should come off in the wash.

This was the first time I've ever sewn princess seams. I got to tell you that it wasn't a totally unnerving experience but I managed to come up with two nice seams. The princess seams are on the backside of the bodice, the front has darts and an opening for a button closure. I was a bit worried about the front darts at first because they looked really pointy on the muslin. Luckily they don't look that way once the bodice is worn. Since I used a double fabric the seams are also all a bit heavy. I'm thinking of maybe trimming the darts but I'll wait till the dress is all done. before worrying about that too much.

A nice and nearly perfect princess seam finisfed with a zigzag line.
I was beginning to dream about a serger after the millionth zigzag seam, sigh..
After I'd sewn all the darts, the princess seams, the shoulder seams and side seams it was time to sew on the facing. Although the intruction sheet only recommended using interface on the button strip, I used it also on the facing piece just to stabilize the neckline more. Though it seamed like a good idea, the result of two-layered fabric plus an interfaced single-fabric wasn't that good after all. I'm still hoping that after ironing and ironing some more the neckline will look alright. Interesting thing about ironing this fabric, the fabric (100 per cent cotton) changed color when I ironed it. The pink parts turned peachy. In the end I actually like the effect that it gives. Wonder about why that happened still.

Facing pinned and ready to be sewn.
After the facing I decided it was time to quit for the day. At least on the machine (lol). I covered some buttons with the fabric and came up with a new problem: what buttons to use?! The fabric is really really cute, and I'm worrying if it becomes unbearably so with the self-fabric buttons. I need seven buttons for this and the only ones that I have in my poor button stash are these ones:

Dark buttons, yay or nay?
This is how the bodice looks with the self-fabric buttons (need to buy two more):

Decisions, decisions, this is the world of a sewist.

Well, maybe I'll worry about that tomorrow. It's good have something else to think about besides setting the sleeves, yikes! I'm also thinking about making the handsewn buttonholes that Sunni shared, but will have to see if I'll be able to find descent materials for them.

The dreaded sleeves await for tomorrow.

Ompelukone sai laulaa kyllikseen tänään. Sain tehtyä Stil 8777 mekon koeversion, muutokset kaavaan ja ompeltua lopullista versiota yläosan verran. Vuorasin mekkokankaan valkoisella ohuella puuvillalla, koska päällikangas oli mielestäni turhan läpinäkyvä yläosaksi. Kaksinkertaisen kankaan ompeleminen olikin sitten hieman haasteellista, mutta nyt yläosa on vuorauksineen ja tukikankaineen koossa. Huomenna luvassa hihojen istutus ja alaosan ompelu. Sitten jääkin enää napit ja näpinlävet sekä tietysti vetoketju! Vielä kun saisi päätettyä mitä nappeja tuohon miehustaan laittaisi...

Edit: I'm going with the self-fabric buttons. It'll make accessorising much easier.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Thrifted March (and some fabric shopping)

Until I discovered the wonderful of sewing and vintage clothing I wasn't much of a thrifter. I remember that we did go to jumble sales and thrift stores every weekend when I was a child. But for some reason that faded away when I moved on my own. I guess I thought that there just wasn't any good thrift stores about, at least at a walking distance (this for me means 5km). And there really aren't that many in here, but now I've found at least one that always has something to offer, the Salvation Army Thrift Store. There is another thrift store in the centre (the UFF Thrift Store) but it's way too expensive to be one in my opinion. There's also a big thrift store on the other side of town, but since it's such a long way away, I haven't really bothered to go there.  Since the vintage scene has become a bit of a fashion thingy lately there are new vintage stores popping out here and there. They are (at least for now) the only places besides the web that I've found vintage sewing patterns.

The reason I thrift is basically to find affordable fabrics. And it's also an environmentally friendly way to sew, I think. I always look through the linens and curtains. Some stores also have a big pile of abandoned fabric pieces and buttons and buckles. Here are some that I've found this month.

A big pile of buckles. Think of all the belts I'll be able to make! They're on some thrifted lavender satin that I'm thinking of making into this:

Metallic buttons. I just had to have these, they were so lovely:

Leather buttons! Do I need to say more?!:

The pattern here is thrifted but the fabric I found at the sale section of the fabric store. It's really light and sweet but I think I have to underline it with some white cotton:

This is a lovely sheer cotton piece that I found for 1 euro! I saw the film "Glorious 39" last week and have been dreaming about the yellow dress that Anne wore at the picnic.This fabric combined with some more yellow cotton would be ideal for this look. The film is filled with stunning pieces, I would gladly take them all home, but for now this would do:

Today I rummaged around the children's section in the thrift store and found these two duvet covers that fould make great shirts: 

Then there was this candy striped cotton that was a sale find. I'm thinking of making this into this:

And since it's always nice to daydream of being a classy lady with gloves I bought a pair of lace beige ones for 1 euro:

I also got some yellow lining and a deep forest green chiffon that will go to my stash for now. Some of the thrifted fabrics are already made into a dress, like the McCall dress. Hopefully the next one will be a success too.


Pelastusarmeijasta on tullut se paikka, josta aina löytää jotain uutta ja ihanaa ompeluja varten. Maaliskuun saaliiden jälkeen tarvikkeita on taas muutamia ihanan kevyitä kesämekkoja varten!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Finds from the Fair

I spent some quality time this weekend with my dear mother by visiting the Arts and Antiquities Fair that was held at the Turku Fair and Congress Center this weekend. There were lots of vintage sellers, handicrafts and vintage toys to go about. There was so much that I would've wanted to take home with me- just to think of all the vintage dresses and shoes!- but luckily for me the shoes were too small and the dresses too expensive. And since now I know how to sew vintage dresses (at least somehow) I tried to focus on the vintage sewing patterns. There were only two booths I could find that had vintage patterns and most of them were from the 70's. But since we went to the fair on Sunday who knows what treasures there were on Saturday! Better not think about that too much though, sigh... But not to worry! I took some patterns home with me and a pair of some adorable earrings!

Stil 6224 A wrap dress/apron from the 50's.
Simplicity 2823 Skirt, blouse and waist coat from 1979.
Stil 8777 Dress and an apron from the 70's.

Stil 8310 Wiggle dress with scalloped pockets from the 60's.

Stil 4055 A sheath dress from the 60's.

Stil 4033 Skirt suit from the 60's.
The pattern from the 50's was the only one without an envelope. Still it's never been used and in perfect condition! All the other patterns were in factory folds too and had no tears or wears on them. And all were in wearable sizes! (Well, not the 50's skirt, lol) Talk about some good luck! I'm already planning to make a nice cotton summer dress from the Stil 8777 and the Simplicity pattern will become a part of my fall lookbook. I think it has a resemplance to the 1940's skirt and blouse patterns like this one that I've hunted but not managed to find yet.

There were a lot of antique and vintage broches and some earrings too at the fair but I fell in love with the earrings and necklaces made by Anna Karppinen. She handpaints the earrings and uses lace to create the beautiful forms on the pieces. I bought these round seagreen lovelies but I think I must get my hands on some red ones too! You can find these from The site is in Finnish but just click on the Korut-tab to get a look at the jewels.

Lace patterned earrings. LOVE!

Mum had an urge to clear out some of her closets so I volunteered to take the old fabric remnants from past sewing projects of her hands (a real sacrifice on my part that was! lol). What I got was old sheets (great for muslins!), a piece of lace and an old lace collar and some purple shell fabric. And now I have a terrible urge to go rummage around thrift stores for some more fabrics! Or maybe I'll just stay inside and out of the blizzard (spring! where are you?!) and trace some patterns. Have a great week!


Kävin viikonloppuna Turussa järjestyillä Taide- ja Antiikkimessuilla, jonka yhteydessä oli myös Kädentaitomessut sekä vanhojen lelujen osasto. Numismaatikoiden pöydillä oli lisäksi mahdottomat määrät vanhoja rahoja, myös niitä ihania Paavo Nurmia ja Väinö Linnoja, nyyh.. Mutta todelliset aarteet löytyivät messujen vintageosastoilta. Mekkoja, kenkiä, laukkuja ja korsetteja oli vaikka millä mitalla, mutta itse yritin keskittyä vanhojen kaavojen metsästykseen (yksi korsettiliivi oli tosin jo kädessä, mutta jäi kuitenkin ostamatta). Lopulta löysin kahdelta eri myyjältä vanhoja Stil-kaavoja, joista kotiin päätyi lopulta 5 kappaletta. Lisäksi löysin yhden ihanaisen Simplicity-kaavan, josta tulee osa syksyn vaatevarastoani. Kädentaitomessujen puolelta puolestaan löytyi Anna Karppisen suloisia koruja, joita voi ostaa myös netistä osoitteesta Mutta nyt piirtämään kaavoja puhtaaksi!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Favorite pattern pics this week

Great flowy 70's dress from sassybydesign
A 1958's dress with wonderful collar details from vintagevixen
You can never go wrong with a classic jacket from midvalecottage
The perfect wiggle dress with perfect details from sandritocat
The cutest skirts from allthepreciousthings
Shirtdress with a peter pan collar? I'm in! This one from TheFancyLamb
The definition of the 1940's from MissBettysAttic

The thing that didn't swing

I was so exited when Casey announced that she was hosting a sew-along with the Sense and Sensibility Swing Dress since I had just ordered it and was anxious to make it. But as it turned out my first dress attempt wasn't a triumph. I made the dress, discovered all the mistakes I'd made, tossed it in to the fabric stash and tried to forget about it. After a few weeks (and another this time a successful dress) I braved myself to fix the dress. Here's all the mistakes I made and what I did to fix them.

I think everything that could've gone wrong with this dress did.

1. I didn't make a muslin. BIG mistake. I did do a kind of a muslin, but I should've made the whole dress into a muslin. Here my impatience got the hold of me. I was so exited about the dress that I just wanted to wear it allready. Therefore after I'd sewn the waist band to the front bodice it didn't fit right. So I undid that seam and fitted it again. Luckily it only needed a little adjustment, I just sew the center front part with a bigger seam allowance.

2. The fabric was way wrong for a First Project fabric. This was the first dress I'd ever made (again, why didn't I do the muslin?!) and I would've been wise to choose a simpler fabric, like some cotton blend. Instead I chose superthin 100 % polyester. Not good. I should've underlined the whole thing and not just the waist band, which worked perfectly by the way.

3. The sleeves. I'm pinning this to the fabric choice as well, because it didn'd have any strech to it. So when I'd finally attached the first sleeve I tried the dress on and you guessed it, I couldn't lift my arm one bit. I did the easy thing and decided to make it sleeveless, since I figured summer is right around the corner and I can always but a cardigan on it. I finished the sleeves with India tape, I just didn't want to touch the fabric more than I absolutely had to and therefore I chose no to make bias tape of it.

4. The skirt side seams. Now this seems like such an easy error, but I managed to do this too. I hadn't realised that when sewing the side seams you should strech the fabric a bit as you go a long so that it doesn't sag. I did all the skirt seams without streching the fabric and the result was hidious. So I undid all the skirt seams. And had to resew the zipper in place as well, yay.

Close-up on the fabric.

What made the sewing of the alterations even more gruesome was that my sewing machine kept messing and tangling up the thread (sigh). I finally realised where the trouble was (the thread had escaped one part of its route) and got the dress finished. I'm not completely satisfied with it, but its an okay dress. And to think that if I'd just followed Casey's instructions and timetable I would've had a finished and perfect dress a while ago! I'm already planning my next swing dress, this time from two different coloured fabrics and with sleeves (here's hoping anyway). This time I'm going to follow Casey's instructions meticulously.

P.S. Here's a collection of beautiful swing dresses from the sew-along, the way they should look like.


Tämän piti olla se ensimmäinen hieno mekko, jonka päätin tehdä. Eipä sitten ollut sitä, ei. Tein paljon virheitä valmistellessa, ommellessa ja jopa kankaan valinnassa, mutta pahin virhe oli, että annoin periksi kärsimättömyydelleni. Korjausten jälkeen mekko on nyt jokseenkin käyttökelpoinen, ainakin neuletakin kanssa. Seuraavalla kerralla aion tehdä kaiken niin kuin vintageompelun guru Casey opetti ja valita järkevän kankaan ompelun helpottamiseksi.

Monday, 21 March 2011

McCall's yellow summer dress

Truth be told I should've spent the weekend writing my master's thesis but instead I ended up finishing two dresses. The other a fix up kind of job that I'll post about later and the other the McCall's patterns sequal. I made the dress out of old cotton curtains that I found at the Salvation Army thrift store. Since I'd already done the dress once the sewing was pretty straight-forward. I kept the dress otherwise the same as the first time, except this time I took 10 cm (4 inches) of the lenght. The dress is still quite long but I think it suites me nonetheless.

 I have to say that this pattern was a dream to sew up especially to a novice like me. Everything fit right where it should and the instructions were easy to follow (given that English isn't my mothertongue). I did do a few things differently but that was basicly just sewing some seams in a different order. The pattern instructed to add the pockets last, which I feared would be difficult at that point. I simply added the pockets before I attached the skirt front to the skirt back. The pockets were the only tricky part about this dress, the topstiching was excruciating at times (don't look at those seams too carefully lol). I handsew the side zipper after Tasia's instructions and finished the hem by hand also. This took a bit of time, but for me not having to listen to the machine but only the needle working is worth it all.

This was one of  the good bits of topstiching I could find on the pockets. Oh well../ Lähikuvaa taskujen tikkauksesta.
Had to fumble around with some embroidery too. I sew this on the neck facing and clearly need practice with it./ Nimikointi kaipaa selkeästi lisää harjoitusta.

Close up on the lace.

Täytyy sanoa, että tämä mekko oli helpoista helpoin ommella. Mekon kokoonpanoon meni ehkä yhden päivän verran ja helman viimeistelyyn noin tunnin verran (viimeistelin sen käsin ja koska helmaa riitti meni aikaakin hieman). Eniten pidän tässä mekossa siitä, että sain tehtyä koko mekon ostamatta uutta kangasta. Jonkun hylkäämät vanhat verhot tulivat uusiokäyttöön samoin kuin vanha pitsiliina. Ainoana uutena jouduin ostamaan vetoketjun, koska kirpparilta löytämäni oli muutaman sentin liian lyhyt.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Book treat

The McCall dress is coming along nicely, allready finished the top part! But while watiting for the whole dress to come along I thought I'd share some pics with you. I found an old Finnish school book from 1957 called Tyttöjen käsityöt (Crafts for girls in English) by Eeva Haavisto. It has great illustrations and instructions on all kinds of crafts, even bobbing lace. And it shows the construction of five different button holes! I didn't even know there was that many! The texts in the pictures are in Finnish, but I hope you can read the illustrations. Some of the pictures came out a little blueish, sorry about that.

How to make a pentagram slit.

Buttonholes made out of fabric strips.

How to sew a belt loop.


Löysin antikvariaatista hienon vanhan käsityökirjan vuodelta 1957 nimeltä Tyttöjen käsityöt. Kirjassa on kerrottu kuvin ja tekstein miten ommella, neuloa, nyplätä pitsiä (!) ja kutoa. Kirja on käsinompelun kannalta todellinen aarreaitta, sillä koneompelu saa siinä vain pienen kappaleen osakseen. Tämän kirjan jälkeen on turha enää selittää, ettei osaa ommella esimerkiksi pirtavyöripsua, ristikkopohjaista Raja-Karjalan reikäommelta tai viisikantahalkiota.


"The Tune of Time" Don't you just love the dress here? I know I do!