Air Raid Suit Sewing- Back Pockets, Pants Seams, and Pants Tabs

This is kind of a “catch you up on steps in between the hard bits” post, so none of these steps are gone over in detail but will help you visualize what to get done on the way to where we’re going.


First, attach the tabs to the pants if you want them.  For how to make the tabs see this post.  You want the tab to be at the inside leg, because if you put your buttons on the inside leg they’ll hit each other when you walk and that would be annoying ;)


Make the back darts and then attach the back patch pockets.  You’ll attach the back pockets in the same method you used for the front bodice pockets, but omitting the pencil holder stitches.  See this blog post.


Join the inside leg seams. Make sure it looks like this, sewing a back pants piece to a front pants piece when you attach them, so you’re not making yourself a skirt instead of pants ;)


Then attach your side seams, up to the dot by the extension, and then clip in.  Do the same for both sides.  Flat fell or fake flat fell these seams.


Then you’ll sew the crotch seams together.  Go all the way from the center back, match the leg seams together, and sew up until the dot at the front fly.


Make sure you stop at the front fly, like this. Clip and then flat fell or faux flat fell the whole crotch seam.


From the outside it should look like this.


And this.

Next time we’ll get to more challenging steps!  But look at your progress!  It looks more like clothing now :)


Air Raid Suit Sewing: Front Pants Pockets & Pleats

Continuing the tutorials for the Air Raid Suit sewing pattern.


This is kind of a long post, because we’re dealing with two steps.  These make more sense if you do them at the same time (at least for me), so plan a block of time to get these couple steps finished at once.

We’re doing the front pants pockets and the front pants pleats in this step.

Fair warning: I was really tired when I photographed these, so my pleats on the pocket piece face in a different direction than the pattern instructs.  But it will still help you visualize what to do.

Prepping the Pockets


If you haven’t already done so, mark the pocket fold line and the tuck.  You’re also supposed to clip in at the bottom of the extension, but I forgot, so my picture doesn’t show it.  Oops?


Turn under 3/4″, then turn in again to the fold line (like a rolled hem) and stitch once, close to the edge.  I wasn’t clear from the original pattern if this meant close to the finished folded edge of the pocket, or close to the edge of the hem, so I did it close to the hem.


Do another row of stitching 1/4″ from the stitch line you just made.  If you have a 1/4″ foot for your machine, it comes in handy for all this topstitching.


Turn under the curved edge 1/2″ and press.  From the back side it should look like this.

Attaching the Pockets to the Pants Fronts


Make sure the pants front pieces are already marked with all the needed markings.

Then, pin the pocket to place.


And then topstitch the curved edge to place, stitching 1/4″ from the edge.

Also baste the top of the pocket to the pants front piece so it doesn’t wiggle around.

Making the Front Pants Pleats



I think I did this pleat backward, so look at the instruction pack and decide for yourself which way you want the pleats to face.  BUT- using the lines that you marked, crease on on of the pleat lines through both layers (the pocket and the front pants piece), and bring it to the other line.  Pin it to place.


Baste it down.


Now, using the mark for the other tuck, you’re going to pleat the front from the edge of the pocket to that line.


Like this.  Pin it.


And now stitch that down at the waist.  You’ll now have two pleats.  Do the same on the other side.

Sorry for the disorganization of this post, but hopefully it helps you to visualize what to do. And really, whatever direction you do your tucks on top of the pocket will not affect the fit, but it might affect the way the pants drape.  So feel free to do it backward like me… or not  ;)




Air Raid Suit Sewing: Making Tabs & Attaching Them to Sleeves

Sorry for the delay in posting!   I’m back at it, showing more tutorials for the Air Raid Suit.

Today we’ll be doing tabs and showing how to attach the tabs to the sleeves and creating the tucks at the sleeve wrist.

I want to apologize ahead of time for the photo quality.  I started squeezing in sewing when I could, so a lot of these were taken at night when the light wasn’t so good.

If you’re doing the short sleeve version of the Air Raid Suit, you don’t need to do these steps.  But if you want to add tabs to the pants, you’ll still need to make yourself two tabs.


The tabs are used to button the fullness out of the wrist and the ankles.  This was used during WWII to keep the garment from getting caught in the machinery, which could cause serious injury, or even death, to the worker.  To keep safe, You needed your garment to fit snuggly to your body.

It’s worth noting that I needed to make the tabs longer on the pattern (the original pattern was missing the tab piece, so these were drafted off of the piece layout).  I have small ankles and wrists, and they were pretty snug even on me.  So your tabs may look slightly different.


First, stitch all the way around the outside edge of the tab.  Use 1/2″ seam allowance.


Trim your seam allowance down to about 1/4″.


Turn, press, and then topstitch 1/4″ from the edge.

Make two if you only are making them for the pant legs and doing the short sleeve air raid suit.  Make 4 if you’re doing the long sleeve version of the air raid suit.

Attach the Tabs to the Sleeves

You can do this after you sew the underarm seam and do the hem of the bottom or before.  I did it before, because I found it easier to do it when the sleeve was laying flat.


Stitch the tab to the sleeves, as shown.  Align it with the top of the tuck, extending 1/4″ past the line.


Showing the full width here.  Make sure you point them in the right direction. It’s important for the next steps.


Now, if you haven’t already, sew your underarms seams and hem the bottom of the sleeve.  It should look like this.

Creating the Sleeve Tucks


Fold on the line that the tab is not attached to, and bring it to the line the tab is attached to.  Pin this.


Now go to your sewing machine.  I found it easier if my sleeve was inside out, because then I could stitch on the right side.  Starting from the TOP of the tab, stitch in straight until you’re 1/4″ past the tuck. Make sure you back stitch when you start this stitch.

Turn it to a right angle, and stitch 1/4″ from the fold, all the way down to the bottom.

IMG_5529Stitch across the bottom, through all the layers.  Then go back up, very close to the fold.  Back stitch. IMG_5530

Here you can see that this creates a rectangular shaped topstitching that secures everything in place.

When you attach your buttons, they’ll be on the underarm seam, so the tab will pull in the excess.  But that’s a future step.

Hope you found this helpful!  More next time :)


Congratulations to the 2015 Photo Contest Winners!


All the Facebook votes and the secret judges votes have been tallied and I’m happy to announce our winners in the 2015 Photo Contest!!

The first, second, and third prize winners receive the following:


Facebook voting had equal importance to the secret panel of judge’s votes.  It was very challenging because there were so many excellent submissions!  The three secret judges have different backgrounds so we’d get a well rounded vote:  Fine Arts, Vintage Fashion, and Historical Costuming.

It was a VERY close competition.  Some entries were only separated by one point.  Every single person who entered should be very proud of themselves, whether or not you placed in the top three!

Here’s the Facebook results, and what the judges said about our three winners:


First Place- Emileigh Rogers in the Tea at Two Dress

Public Choice vote on Facebook- 191 votes.

The judges said:

“The whole outfit and the styling is so believably vintage and very sweet and feminine.”

“this is a beautiful version of this 1930s dress. Her bag, shoes and hair are just lovely. The tweed contrast fabric is very nice!”

“Why am I craving a good Agatha Christie novel? If she isn’t walking away from tea with the murderer, then she IS the murderer and no one suspects it! Her choices of colors on the outfit are lovely, and from her hair to her sensible shoes, she’s spot on.”


2nd Place- Rick Callender in the Ruthie Blouse

Public Choice Vote on Facebook- 118 votes

The judges said- 

“…it’s too fun and creative. The tied up hair, the oven mitts… the ‘welcome home, honey, dinner is almost ready’ smile.”

“…The lipstick, the turban- especially the curly mustache! Also, a very sweet review!”

“… I have to give major props for the styling here. Lipstick, head scarf, casserole and oven mits and that sweet smile that says ‘dinner’s ready!'”


3rd Place- Lauren R. in the 1910’s Suit Jacket-

Public Choice Vote on Facebook- 93 votes

The Judges Said:

“…the outfit is so beautifully put together, so well thought out, that Style is the word that comes to mind.”

“The red and black is a stunning and the silhouette of the ensemble is wonderful.”

“Wonderful color and styling choices on this jacket. I love the trim, the faux fur. Ive seen this jacket made in very simple fabrics but this look is fabulous!

- – – Honorable Mention – – -

Although these entries didn’t win the top three prizes, our judges still had excellent things to say about these top finalist’s entries, so I want to make the entrants get to see the praise the judges gave them.


Lauren in the Smooth Sailing Ready to Wear Trousers

“Absolutely love this look. The unexpected mustard shoes balanced the bright turban, which all pops on the subtle grey background.”

“I love this outfit to pieces! So classic and the unexpected pops of color are so fun. Perfectly done!”

“Something about this image draws my eye over and over… somehow it really works for me, and the image overall is outstanding. It’s the touch of reality (not everything that everyone wears every day MATCHES) that actually makes it very approachable, comfortable, and easy to like.”


Ginger in the Maisie Dress and Sash

“This is a great setting and a great photo.  I love the black and white.”

“…a well composed photo.  Her smile and attitude are very fetching, and the slightly out of focus background gives it a dreamlike quality. And the use of black and white heightens the nostalgia factor.”


Leimomi in the Chic Ahoy culottes

“This photo just stood out from all the others. The colors, the execution, nothing distracting anywhere in the image.  Just lovely. “

“This was hard… and several other entries seemed equally worthy to me. The color, clarity, and pleasing background did it for me.”

THANK YOU so much to all of the amazing contestants!

You all did an incredible job and I was honored and thrilled to see all your amazing photos!

If we do future photo contests, it will be a slightly different format. So feel free to keep leaving photo reviews for clothing you have bought or made!  It will not be done the same way next year, in order to mix things up a bit.


Air Raid Suit Sewing: Attaching the Back Bodice Facing

How was everyone’s weekend?  Hopefully you’re all rested up and found some good sewing time!

We’re continuing with the Air Raid Suit sewing using the Air Raid Suit pattern that’s available on my website.  We’re getting to the trickier parts, so hopefully these posts will help you with construction.

The Air Raid Suit has a drop seat.  We don’t think of these a lot today, except for funny “onesies”, or gag costumes.  Well, this had one.  I don’t know why, but it’s there.  Maybe if it was really cold and you were in an air raid shelter and “nature called”, dropping your seat would keep you warmer and more discreet than dropping the whole suit?

Anyways, on with the sewing!


Grab your Lower Back Blouse Facing piece.  Clip close to the large dot.  Please ignore my scribbles on my piece- I was testing the pattern at the same time as I was photographing this tutorial ;)


Now you’re going to press down your seam allowance to about 1/2″.


Topstitch close to that folded edge.


Now, pin the bottom blouse facing to the bottom blouse, right sides together, matching your notches.


Stitch all the way around the sides and bottom edge.  Pay extra attention to that little extension at the top- I stitched OUT from where we clipped our facing piece, matching the extension of the back blouse, turned on  the corner, down the side, turned the corner, and then across the bottom edge, and up the same on the other side. Leave the top edge that was folded down in the first step free, so you can turn it right side out.


Now clip all your corners and trim the seam allowance down to about 1/4″.  Don’t get too close to the stitching or it will fray when washed.


Flip it right side out, and get a nice point to your corners.  Give it a press.


Now you’re going to topstitch all around the outside edge, 1/4″ from the side and bottom.


Flip it over so you’re now looking at the inside.  Now top stitch right on top of that original topstitching of the facing, going through all layers and attaching the back facing to the back bodice at the top.  Make sure you smooth this all out and pin it well before you sew, so you don’t get any funny wrinkling after its stitched.


Give it a final press, and it should look like this from the right side.  Pretty snazzy, huh?

We’ll continue with more sewing next time.  Hope these tutorials have been helping :)


Air Raid Suit Sewing- Bodice Side Seams

In this post we’ll do the bodice side seams on the Air Raid Suit pattern.


First thing to do is join the side seam to the top dot.  Don’t worry, the back is supposed to be longer than the front!

That little sticky-outy bit on the side is going to be our back extension, and the longer length at the bottom back b
odice will be for buttons to attach to for our drop seat.  It this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. It will all make sense later.



Next you’re going to do a diagonal clip to the dot on the BACK BODICE seam allowance ONLY.  Don’t clip super close or else it will not be stable, but don’t cut too little or it will be hard to do the extension later.


Now you’re either going to flat fell your seam or serge it (for fakey flat felled seams), leaving the extension free.    These seams face towards the BODICE FRONT.


Stichy, stitchy!


And right side out it should look like this.  If you’re doing a flat felled seam, you should do a little rolled hem at the bottom of the front bodice (the fold of the flat felled seam will want you to continue it anyways).  If you’re doing a serged, fakey method, I just stitched right on top of my serging all the way down and didn’t bother turning it under since the serge finishes the edge. If you’re anticipating heavy wear, you might want to do flat felled seams for real instead of my cheater method.

That’s it!  Do the same to both sides.  Now it feels like we’re moving right along, doesn’t it?



Air Raid Suit Sewing- Making Flat Felled Seams (Or Faking It)

Sorry for the delay in posting!  It’s been busy, busy around here!

In this post we’ll show how to do flat felled seams.  But I’ll also show how to fake it if don’t want to be bothered but still want the look (like me).

- Flat Felled Seams -

This is primarily a technique used in men’s clothing and workwear.  Since this counts as workwear, it utilizes these techniques.  This type of seam finish is generally thought to be sturdier than others.  The most common place you’ll find it today is in nicely made jeans.  In fact, you can go grab your jeans and flip them inside out to see if you have something in person to see to get an idea of what these are… but with more and more jeans getting made less and less expensively, more jeans are “faking it”, like we’ll do in the second part of this post.

We’re doing this the way that they did in the original sewing instructions, even though there’s more than one way to pet a cat (what?  don’t you like my version better? Poor kitties.)  If you want to substitute this for your method, go right ahead.  Just remember, and this is important, that our seam allowance is 1/2″.  Don’t go making bigger seam allowances or your garment will be too small!  If you want more seam allowance you need to add it to your pattern BEFORE you cut it out.

I did these on scraps.  Your pattern pieces don’t look like this ;)

You should also try it on scraps so you can figure it out before you do it on your real garment.


First, stitch 1/2″ from the edge, right sides together.


Next you clip your seam allowance  to about 1/4″ (or less) on one side only 


On the wider of the two seam allowance, fold the edge under about 1/8″, or 3/16″.  Give it a press.  Don’t burn your fingers! This is fiddly work.


Now press that folded edge to that it overlaps your shorter cut edge.  See?  Wait, you can’t see it, because it’s hiding behind it.  And that’s the point!


Now edge stitch close to the fold, but keeping your stitching a uniform distance from the original stitch line.


This is how it should look from the right side.

That’s it!

Practice, because it’s hard to get good looking flat felled seams without being precise on measurements.  Play around until you figure what works best for you.  The main thing is to catch those seam allowances so that they don’t fray, so don’t go too far from the fold or you’ll get little escapees when your garment is washed.

Now, if you’re lazy like me, here’s the cheater method.

- Faux Flat Felled Seams -

This is demonstrated on the shoulder seams of the garment. Fair warning, I did all construction with faux flat felled seams and not real ones.  So from here on out, that’s what you’ll see in my construction shots.


First, join your seams using 1/2″ seam allowance.  I’m joining the front bodice to the back bodice shoulder seams in this photo.

After this I serged my seams together. (if you don’t have a serger, figure out another way to finish the edges).


Press your seam allowance in the direction indicated in the pattern.  Our pattern has us press them toward the back.


Now top stitch an equal distance away from the original stitch line.  I used the width of my presser foot.  You can’t see this too clearly because it overlapped the serging.


From the right side it looks like this.  Pretty identical on the right side to the flat felled seams, but since I’m not going to wear this as much as someone who did war work in the 1940’s, I really don’t need the extra stability of flat felled seams.

I’ll leave it up to you, whichever method you want to use.

That’s it!  Next time we’ll dive into more exciting assembly of the Air Raid Suit!