This September (Sewing Month!), I wanted to challenge myself with something new, or at least brush up on some sewing techniques that don’t get much use. I’ve been taking Gertie’s Starlet Suit Jacket course on Craftsy, but my jacket needs are still a few months off, and so far I have only watched the lessons.I decided to toss a few challenges into the Mauve Madness collection. Here are two big ones: a silk blouse made from a vintage pattern almost four sizes too small, and a fitted, pleated skirt. Whew!
|Click on any pic to see larger version|
I purchased this size 30 pattern as part of a large lot, and really, I probably should have put it aside for sale or to give away.
The back and lower front pieces each have a center and a side seam which can be expanded by ½ inch without losing shape.
|New front piece (on muslin)/Original front pattern|
That gave me 8 x ½ = 4 inches already. I added a larger wedge at the lower back edge since I needed to increase the hip measurement by, let us say, a lot more!
|MUCH larger back piece|
I decided my biggest concern would be across the shoulders in back, and where the diagonal yoke stretches from the sleeve across to center front. If these areas were too small, any arm movement would tear the blouse apart. Therefore I spread the back another ½ inch all the way from the middle of the shoulder down, and did the same with the tiny triangular front shoulder piece and the yoke/tie piece.
|Larger front yoke and tie pieces.|
This is a silk-cotton blend, but it was as sensitive and slippery as 100% silk. I hand-basted any seam on a curve or bias, because the fabric would slide in all directions as it ran through the machine.I got lots of practice on finishing with this project. My French seams are nice and neat on the side seams, but I still haven’t gotten the hang of French seams on the sleeves. Maybe you’re supposed to use another finish on sleeves? The sleeves and hem are hand-sewn, and I did nearly go blind trying to stitch with dark grey thread on dark grey fabric. Not as bad as black but almost!
And one more thing about the pattern: it is not dated, but I place it in the mid-40s due to this public service announcement on the envelope flap:
Isn’t that interesting? Have you ever seen this on a pattern? Do you have an idea of the date?
On to the next big challenge!
This fabric is a loose-weave silk or blend.
It has that raw-silk smell, a nubbly texture, and the threads are easily snagged. I first stabilized it by fusing a very lightweight interfacing to the entire yardage. This skirt requires a surprisingly large amount of fabric because so much of it (20 inches) is inside the pleats.
|1930s style skirt adopted by the 1980s in this pattern|
Normally a skirt with sharp pleats would be made of wool or a synthetic blend in order to hold the crease, but the interfacing allowed this floppy silk to stay sharp.Then would you believe I decided to line it? Yes, I lined it with Bemberg and I used the same pattern, pleating it in the same places. Fourteen more pleats! The only difference was that I cut away the extra fabric in the stitched-down portions of the pleats to reduce some of the bulk.
It has its share of problems, but they are all minor and overall I’m so happy with the pleats that I can overlook the other stuff. Of course, it isn’t hemmed yet…
I was making progress on the next item in the Mauve series when my iron broke. Hmmm. Are the sewing gods trying to tell me something? I will be back on the job as soon as I can get a new iron, but that means I have to decide which one I want.
Any suggestions for a good steam iron?