The reason I started this blog in the first place

In my first post, I wrote about how my goal was to build a skill set that would make it possible for me to tackle a project like B5832. That was a little over a year ago. This year for Halloween, I managed to finish that Butterick pattern! It took me about a week. It would have taken longer, but I left some design elements out for reasons I’ll explain later.

The project was fun and I’m definitely hooked on period costuming. I  have decided that next year I’ll make a robe a la francaise and go as Marie Antoinette for Halloween. I realize now I need to make friends that are also into this hobby because I will have nowhere to wear these things. They will just be sitting in my closet gathering up dust 🙁

B5832

Process:

I left out the piping because the piping cord I ordered was too thick, and I left out the tabs on the shoulders because 1) I think they are a weird design touch, and 2) I couldn’t understand the instructions. Ha.

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The pleating details ended up being pretty easy to work with. It was all about careful ironing. sewing it in place was admittedly tricky.

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The skirt was the most ridiculous aspect of this project. It took forever to ruche the top and pull the threads through. And they kept breaking! Never again.

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Detail of the ruching follows. Yes, I had to that by hand for the entire length of the skirt.

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Craftsy Review: Sewing Machine 911

In my long absence, I procrastinated from doing work for my graduate classes by taking Craftsy classes. I am obsessed with them. I have signed up for way more than I realistically have time to take.

I have taken advantage of the mini classes in order to motivate myself to go through the more in depth ones. All told I have finished 3  classes and am in the middle of two others. I’ll start of by reviewing Sewing Machine 911 (w/ Claudia Miller) because my mind was blown at how useful it was.

I began this class with the intention of skipping around to the stuff I didn’t know. Little did I know that I’m a total noob and was threading my sewing machine wrong every time! No wonder my tension was always wonky. How I managed to make two dresses in this manner is beyond me. I used some generic YouTube video when I needed a refresher on how to thread a machine and I missed the subtleties like passing the thread through the tension hook on top of the needle.

Anyway, I thought I knew how to use my machine and it turns out I didn’t, haha. At the moment I’m taking an embroidery class on Craftsy. When I’m done with that one I’ll post a review, as well.

My WIP: Simplicity 1607

 

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Long Hiatus, Still Crafting

You know when you’re at a restaurant and everyone is Instagramming their meal, but you’re already three spoonfuls in? That’s how it’s been lately with my projects.  I have made a dress, learned to embroider, and crocheted a hat since I last posted, but I just moved on to each new thing and neglected to update Thread and Butter.  And grad school got in the way…

But I’m back, with a little more time on my hands.  For this quick post I’d like to share this clutch that I made from So Sew Easy. It was a simple pattern,  but of course I read the directions incorrectly and I messed up a couple of times. I had to rip it apart and restitch twice (which is inadvisable when working with vinyl, the perforations from previous sewing attempts are noticeable).

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I have vinyl left over, and since I have no other purpose for it, I’d like to re-do the clutch and make the workmanship neater.

Btw, vinyl is super easy to work with. All I needed to do was get leather needles for my sewing machine.

Pattern

Anyway, stay tuned because I’m posting the dress I made, plus reviews of the three(!) Craftsy classes I managed to complete.

 

 

 

Vintage Blouse

This month, I decided to join a sew-along. I thought it would be a good way to stretch my new skills. Over at Seamstress Erin‘s, a bow blouse challenge is taking place and I gave a try. I chose a reproduction 60’s pattern from Simplicity. The only other pattern I had ever tried from that pattern company was the disastrous sheet dress I made as my first garment project. It all went surprisingly well this time. I chose to go a size up from the usual– 6 to 8–in order to get a looser fit. Cutting and pinning took an absurd amount of time, as usual, but sewing it was a piece of cake. It took the better part of an afternoon. And to be fair, it only took that long because Bright Star and Jane Eyre both happened to be on TV while I was sewing.

IMG_0403The most tedious part of sewing: cutting out the pattern.

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The point at which I realized I had not bought the zipper…

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Simplicity 2154: Secretary Blouse

  • Size: 8
  • Fabric: Flower print light cotton(?) with metallic detail
  • Lining: No, this project used facings.
  • Notions: Tiny black rosebud for neck detail, grey zipper
  • Adjustments: None.
  • Would I recommend it to other sewers: Absolutely. It was super easy to put together. I’m planning on making another one in a lighter fabric.
  • Techniques used/learned: rectangular facings, attaching a collar, invisible zipper.

For the Night is Dark and Full of (T)errors

I am proud to say that I went all out for Halloween this year. After more than a year of planning and postponing and sewing on and off, I finally finished my Melisandre costume. I have to say, I went through a lot of drama along the way. The sheer number of hurdles that this project presented should have put me off of costume making, but now that the finished product is in front of me I’m determined to make a costume every year. I posted earlier that my goal for next year is to be skilled enough to make a civil war era dress. I feel a lot more confident about that goal now!

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You might notice there is some bunching where the bodice and skirt meet in the front. One of the many issues that plagued me as I was making this costume.

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The Summer Dress

When I decided to try my hand at sewing a few months ago, I wasn’t sure if it was something that I would stick with. My main motivation was to add affordable vintage pieces to my wardrobe. My favorites are the silhouettes of the 1950’s and 1960’s. It’s not always easy to find vintage/reproduction pieces that fit my budget or my proportions. Since I am petite with a larger bust, sizing is an issue for me. Making my own clothes seemed like a step in the right direction.

I bought what is basically a toy sewing machine and I made the worst dress ever out of an old, drab sheet. I chose the smallest size and it came out comically huge.  I’m still not sure why the sizing was so off. The pattern is from the 90’s, so maybe it has something to do with the aesthetic of the time. Or maybe I made some error in my stitching. But honestly, even the most prudish church mouse wouldn’t wear such an unflattering sack. On top of all of this the “fabric” had a terrible drape, which made the fit even more awkward. Alright, so that does not sound like a roaring endorsement of sewing, but I was still hooked! I couldn’t believe that all the pattern pieces fit together. Or that I could makes sense of the facings. My mother was sufficiently impressed with my efforts that she gave me her Brother.

The pattern that started it all…

…and the resulting dress.

Armed with my awesome new machine and some basic skills, I tackled Butterick 5748. It’s a reproduction pattern from the 50’s. I admire the simplicity of the design. It’s a clean, classic look that ended up being a perfect intro to various techniques. The two most challenging aspects of this pattern were putting in the zipper and hemming the circle skirt. I thought the hemming would never end. And the tension in my machine must have been wrong for the light fabric, because my hem kept bunching up, making it extremely frustrating to sew. Overall, I’m very pleased with the fit and drape. I have plans to sew this one up again for my sister. When that time comes, I’ll post  a more detailed tutorial for this dress.

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Front view. Much improved from dress #1, yes?

Back view, bow detail

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Here, we like to sew and eat pie.

     A year before I decided to launch this little project, I didn’t have much experience with recipe making or needle work. I knew the bare basics because my mother took care to teach me a little of everything.

     It wasn’t until recently that I decided to really immerse myself in all things fiber and baking related. I am especially obsessed with using vintage techniques. There’s something very methodical and calming about doing things the old fashioned way. It really sparked an interest in seeing what else I could learn. I picked up knitting needles and sewing needles and expanded on the basics that my mother taught me. I’m stumbling along trying to teach myself these skills, but since I’m a teacher I thought it would be useful to share my ups and downs with people who are trying to learn the same things.

     Recently, I taught myself the basics of dressmaking and crocheting and I hope that in the next year I’ll be able to tackle more complicated projects.

This is an example of the type of project I would like to tackle in the future. It's Butterick 5832. I own this pattern and look longingly at the instructions every once in a while. Maybe next year you'll see me in a handmade Civil War costume!

This is an example of the type of project I would like to tackle in the future. It’s Butterick 5832. I own this pattern and look longingly at the instructions every once in a while. Maybe next year you’ll see me in a handmade Civil War costume!

     Now that I am a little more familiar with the intricacies of my new hobbies, it has become easier (and more important) for me to tackle my many domestic projects thoughtfully. This blog is a way to document my journey and share what I learn along the way!