Tag Archives: finished projects


Finished Project: 1002 Nights Poiret Dress

I have just finished up my Poiret inspired dress!

Paul Poiret is one of my fashion design icons.  Making a dress that paid homage to him was really fun!

I felt so “high fashion” in it, because of it’s absurdity, so had fun with editing my photos to capture the way it felt.

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If you missed the prior post with more details about the making of this dress, you can find it here.

This “excuse” for making this dress (not that I needed one) was the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s “Fairytale” challenge.  Here’s the info for the challenge:

The Challenge: #6- “Fairytale”  Inspired by Paul Poiret’s “One Thousand and Second Night” party.

Fabric:  The tunic is all poly with little rubber dots on it.  Pretty horrid, but has a great look when made up for the “Poiret” look.  The dress is a black satin rayon, which they actually did have in this time period.

Pattern: Underdress: My Cordelia skirt pattern and the 1910s Blouse pattern with an altered neckline and no sleeves.  Overdress:  Very loosely based on a bodice pattern from the period, but mostly entirely self composed as I went along.

Year: 1913-ish

Notions: Indian import trim, hooks and eyes, snaps, hoop wire, bias facing.

How historically accurate is it?  If it wasn’t for the fibre content, it would be pretty close.  I’m knocking myself for that, though, and giving myself a 40% accuracy marking.

Hours to complete:  I have no idea.  Maybe 12-ish?  It went pretty fast, but I puttered in 15 minute increments on it over the span of three weeks (didn’t make the “fortnight” due date).

First worn: Today for pictures!

Total cost: Hmm…. considering the only thing I really bought for this was the dupatta, I think it was around $35.  Everything else was from the stash.

More outfit details:  My shoes were thrifted, my hat is authentic Edwardian, and the brooches, etc are vintage, with the exception of the necklace and earrings, and the choker I used as an accent on the belt.  All of those are new from Ebay, bought over the last seven years or so.



Finished Project: 1919 Knitted Slipover “Bodice”

I have been working on this on and off for about a month or so, and just finished it up!  I’ve come down with a rotten cold, so the opportunity of finding couch worthy projects helped me finish this up.

I may be stretching a bit, but since I just finished this, and the next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Bodice”, I’m going to use this as a submission.  A little internet searching, and I found this “knitted bodice without sleeves” from 1870 on the Vintage Stitch-O-Rama Free Pattern Emporium.  The one I made is nearly 50 years later, but a similar idea.  Maybe stretching the “bodice” idea a bit (har had, it’s knitted, so it already stretches), but I’m going with it.


Here is the pattern I made mine from.  It’s available in my Etsy shop.  I fell in love with it in the original periodical I have in my archives.


I admit, I didn’t do this pattern exactly as it is.  Being a somewhat notice knitter, I was clueless as to how to pick up stitches and knit the border around the collar and down the front.  And it wanted me to make buttonholes.  So I cheated, and crocheted the edge instead.  There’s enough stretch in the sweater for me to not have to have functional buttonholes.

I also changed the way the cord was made.  I didn’t like how the one looked that the instructions called for, so I looked up “crocheted cord” on Youtube and ended up doing one that’s often used in crocheted lace, or macrame.  I like it!  It took a while to get used to doing, but after a while I got in the groove and the two yards I needed to make went pretty quickly.

I also realized, as I was working this up, that I colorized the photo wrong, and there were meant to be three colors.  Oops?  I actually prefer the two.  In the original instructions, the collar and front three cord and button fasteners are supposed to be a different color than the slipover and edging and cord.

The pattern is old, and so isn’t terribly instructive like modern patterns.  I had to fudge a little here and there, since I had never made crocheted buttons or crocheted top tassels before, but I just played with single crochet and it worked out just fine.  For the base of the buttons I just used some plastic buttons in my stash that I didn’t particularly like, but that were flat.  I know I had plastic rings around here somewhere, but these worked in a pinch.

I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing this!  I’m actually REALLY pleased with how it came out.  I’ve had so many knitting disasters in my eight-ish years I’ve knitted on and off, that it’s nice to have something look pretty close to the original image.

I’ve shown this over a 1910s blouse I made a few years ago and an original vintage skirt from the 1910s to very early 1920s.

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The Challenge: #5 Bodice

Fabric: (Yarn) Shine Worsted Yarn by KnitPicks.  I loooooove this yarn!  So soft!

Pattern: 1919 Knitted Slipover (PDF in my Etsy Store)

Year: 1919

Notions: Buttons to cover.  I used sewing thread to sew on the buttons and little cord things across the front.  Crochet hook and knitting needles.

How historically accurate is it?  Nearly 100%.  The buttons I used to cover are modern plastic, and they may not have had cotton/rayon yarn then, but again, they may have, as rayon was often called “artificial silk” in this time period.

Hours to complete:  A million.  I’m not the fastest knitter.

First worn:  Not yet, but I’m totally planning on wearing this with modern clothing as well as historical, so I’m sure it will get some use.

Total cost:  Maybe $30?  I think I used about 7 balls of yarn at $2.99 each plus shipping.

Finished Projects: Edwardian S-Curve Corset + “Improvers”

If you’re following me on Instragram, you may have seen my progress posts on my Edwardian corset and bust improvers.  The corset project was a UFO from last year’s Historical Sew Fortnightly from the same challenge.  This year I was determined to finish it.  It’s just in at the deadline, barely, but I finished it!

I have a few entries for this challenge, since I decided to make Edwardian bust improvers to go with the corset.  Each project is listed separately, but I’ll include them both in this post.

It was much too small, so I had to add 2″ panels to each side.  Luckily, with the other seaming, it’s not terribly obvious.  I had accidentally cut this WAY too small, and had forgotten I had added extra seam allowance to my mock up but didn’t transfer it to my pattern.  Thank goodness I had *just* enough coutil and fashion fabric to cut panels!

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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton coutil, silk broade

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset

Year: 1903

Notions:  Metal boning, busk, eyelets, ribbon, vintage laces, corset lace, bone casing, twill tape for loops for detachable garters (garters were made for a previous corset, but work for this one as well).

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close, but I serged the inside seams instead of leaving them raw or flat felling them.  The garters are not really period correct, as they would have been constructed differently.

Hours to complete: Way too many

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Pretty expensive.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d guess in the $50-$60 range.  Most of the materials were bought either last year or several years before, so I didn’t need to buy any new products to complete this during this year.

paddingAlso made were the padding.  I made the “hip pad” from the Truly Victorian pattern that was included with the corset.  For the bust pads, however, I decided I wanted ones similar to those in the LACMA museum, that I had seen in the “Fashioning Fashion” exhibit.


Woman’s Bust Improver (Falsies), England, circa 1900, image from LACMA
I drafted up a quick pattern based on these.  First I made ones that were 16″ across, but they were kind of big and more “Barbie”ish.  Today I whipped up another pair that are 14″ across, and they suit better.
To compare, here’s the larger ones, and the smaller ones.  They’re both somewhat ridiculous, but so period correct!
I actually ended up sticking this up on my site as an e-pattern.  Since I went to the trouble, I thought others might want to make some, too.
e102COVERwebFair warning/disclaimer.   These were based on those in the collection of LACMA, but the pattern I made is in no way affiliated with LACMA, or endorsed by them.  It was just a fun, quick project, using an existing period example as inspiration.
In any case…
For kicks, I took pictures of my corset with a dress I had made a few years ago with padding and without padding, to get an idea of how it changes the silhouette.
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How interesting!  It reminds me so much of this ad:

The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton muslin, cotton shirting

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset, + Wearing History E102- Edwardian Bust Improver

Year: 1900-1908

Notions:  For hip pad: Cotton wadding, twill tape.  For bust improvers: cotton wadding, double fold bias tape, flat lace that was gathered, lace beading, silk ribbon.

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close.  I think the TV pattern is dead on for the period.  Bust improvers of the time varied greatly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some exactly like this existed.  The museum examples were constructed open at the back, so they could be stuffed and unstuffed.  For ease, and because I will very seldom actually wear these, I just stuffed them and seamed it in, so they have  closed back.

Hours to complete: These were quick. Probably under an hour for each item.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Everything was from the stash.  Actual cost of each was probably under $5.  The cotton batting was free, and everything else was constructed of scraps of inexpensive cotton.  The lace was probably the most expensive part, since it was all vintage.  The silk ribbon was maybe a few dollars a yard and under a yard was used on each bust improver.

Finished Project: Early 1920′s Combinations.

At first I wasn’t sure if it would be done by the Historical Sew Fortnightly deadline, but I made it!  The finishing touches were done last night.

If you missed the prior post, with more details on the process, you can find it here.IMG_0830 IMG_0831 IMG_0832 IMG_0833 IMG_0834 IMG_0835

The Challenge: Historical Sew Fortnightly “Pink” Challenge

Fabric: Vintage silk crepe

Pattern: Butterick 3201

Year: 1921

Notions: Vintage lace edging and insertion, vintage “imitation silk” embroidery threads, silk ribbons for embroidery, pearlized off white beads, hook and eye tape, and a few little ombre ribbon flowers.

How historically accurate is it?  Very.  I used all period correct techniques, including french seams and insertion methods.  The modern things would be of polyester, including the ombre ribbon flowers used at the sides and the straps, polyester thread, and the hook and eye tape is most likely polyester, with the hooks and eyes having some sort of white plastic coating.  Otherwise, it’s all authentic, with period correct techniques and materials.

Hours to complete:  A lot.  I spent a good amount of time on embellishment.  Otherwise it would have gone together quickly.

First worn:  Not yet!

Total cost: I’m not sure.  The fabric was bought at an estate sale a long while ago, and I don’t remember the cost, but it was probably $5-$10.  The lace and trims probably total somewhere around $5.  I don’t remember the cost of the pattern.  So we’ll say, probably $30 or so.

It hangs a little funny on my dress form, because she is not biforcated. ;)

I’m pretty proud of this one!  I spent time of doing French seams and embellishment.  I think it looks pretty close to some of the period ones I have seen, and, because of the fabric, even feels like a real one!  Yay!


Finished Project: 1929 Pajamas!

I’m so excited these are finished!

I was so excited, I did a flapper dance.

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And then I had silly time with my boudoir doll!





And then did ridiculous self portraits.

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^this is my “I survived the pajamas without going (too) crazy” face!

Seriously, I started today with a super low self confidence.  But sometimes pep talks from your best friend and crazy silly dress up time do wonders for morale.

These were a pain in the butt to make, because I was having a bad sewing streak where you’re unmotivated and do dumb things.  And I gave myself a pretty nasty iron burn that’s about 6 inches long that’s still healing.  But if you want more info, check out my previous post about these with more details.

The Challenge: Innovation (using rayon fabric, pajamas for women, and art deco as influence)

Fabric: Rayon print, and coordinating lightweight rayon twill

Pattern: Butterick 2657

Year: 1929

Notions: Two buttons, elastic

How historically accurate is it? Pretty darn close!

Hours to complete: About 6-8ish.  But spread out, because I was having C.A.D.D. and didn’t want to work on them.

First worn: Today for photos!

Total cost:  I think I paid a pretty penny for the pattern, but I don’t remember how much.  The fabric was super cheap- about $9 total.

Those old Butterick patterns are a pain sometimes!  I ignored all my best advice for other seamstresses and didn’t mock up and didn’t do flat measurements of the pattern pieces, so these ended up WAY too big!  Oh well, they’re just pjs.  They’ll be comfy.  I also found the illustration kind of deceptive.  There were other quirks that come with working with old patterns.  But they’re done and wearable!  Yay!

I totally want to make all the 1920s things now.  I’m addicted.

Finished Project: Knit for Victory Sweater & Sailor Trousers

Yay! Two finished projects!

I jumped on the bandwagon to knit a sweater (jumper) with Tasha’s “Knit for Victory” knit-a-long.  I used a vintage PDF download from VanessaLovesVintage on Etsy, for the Aloha Sweater.

il_570xN.367219233_b17cI’m not the most patient knitter, and I was being exceptionally cheap, so used whatever baby yarn was on sale at the craft store.  That being said, it’s all acrylic, and, while it was cheaper than wool, I really wish I had just bought a good yarn, after all the time I took.  And, being baby yarn, I had only pastel colors to choose from, which aren’t my normal color palate.  I also used needles larger than called for and so the knitted stitches were 2/3 what they were usually.  I’m not good at math, so I’m kind of surprised I didn’t mess this up!  A co-worker at my last job gave me hints on what to do (that’s how long ago I started, right after the challenge was announced!  I’m slow), which is the only way I figured it out!  I decided to omit the sleeve puff pads, because I thought they looked silly.


The color palate actually worked out perfectly, though, because my brand new to me vintage hat matches perfectly!  I never thought I would be a “pink” girl, but I love my new hat.  It’s from Bullock’s Wilshire, and inside is stamped “Kitten Fluff”, and it’s fuzzy, with topstitching.   And lucky girl that I am, I found this one AND a bright absinthe green color one at the same time, and the same model hat.  I just have to figure out something to go with that one.  So, true, they probably would not have worn a hat with an outfit like this, but I don’t care.  I wanted to wear my new hat :)  I really love how the sweater came out, too!


My trousers I made from this pattern.  This pattern had been on my wish list FOREVER, until I finally got in a bidding war over it a few years ago and won.  I was pretty sad, when I actually got the pattern in my paws, when I realized the pattern wasn’t really for drop front trousers, but just fastened up the side with a slide fastener, and had buttons accenting darts at the front.  Bummer.  I had patterns that would have worked for that already.  But the cover art is SO pretty, and I have a pretty big weak spot for vintage McCall patterns.


I was a really naughty girl and didn’t make a mock up, and, because of this, I’m not happy with how they fit.  They’re too big in the waist (see, I’m holding it in the pics to look better. LOL!), and too saggy in the butt, but- you may not believe it, but before I wore these for the first time, after they were assembled, I frantically took one inch out of the center front seam in the middle to nothing at the waist and crotch, and two solid inches out of the back in the same way.  And it’s STILL too saggy in the butt.  But I do know that’s what you get with real pants patterns from the 30′s and 40′s. (If you want a mid-point pattern, try my Smooth Sailing, because they’ve got the vintage look without the excessive bagginess that plagued early trouser patterns).


Saggy butt, wonky back length gives me a roll at center back.  I guess I should revisit these, but they sure are comfy as-is.  Like wearing pajamas!  On second thought, maybe I don’t care that much ;)

So, there we have it!  Two finished projects!  Yay!

Challenge #1 HSF ’14: Make do & Mend

(click images for full view)

First finished project of the year!  Admittedly, this was mostly finished, and I could have finished it yesterday, but instead I pulled it out after many months languishing in a plastic project bag because I knew it would meet the requirements for the first challenge of Historical Sew Fortnightly ’14

The Challenge: #1- Make Do And Mend

Fabric: Very high quality cotton.  This was a thrifted men’s shirt, so I did not need to do buttons or buttonholes!

Pattern: Simplicity 3551.  Used mostly for shape, which had to be adapted to the shape of the existing shirt.

Year: Early 1940′s (YAY for WWII era being permissable for the HSF this year!!!)

Notions: Interfacing.  Bias binding.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty accurate!  But, that being said, not too many sewing techniques that are available to the home sewer today weren’t available to industrial sewing in the 1940′s.  I did cut corners by using the button and buttonholes that were originally on this blouse, but the blouse itself was made from a cut apart men’s thrifted shirt, then cut to period from the blouse pattern.  I cut corners by sewing the bias tape facings by machine instead of by hand, but since I plan on wearing this a lot and machine washing it, I figured a this would be faster and more durable for laundering. They did this in the 1940′s, but most often on cheaper, factory made clothing.

Hours to complete: I’m guessing around 6-8.  I did cheater grade it to my size, but eyeballing it as I was cutting.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost:  About $6 for the shirt.  The blouse pattern cost $15 (I know since it’s still got a sticker on the plastic sleeve), but this is my second time making it, so I think that means I should cut the cost in half, so that means the pattern cost me about $7.50, plus bias tape, thread, and interfacing which were in the stash.  So maybe about $14.50ish.

2013- A Sewing Year in Review

I put off doing this post, because I honestly thought I was going to finish a few unfinished projects before the year was out, but I have come to the realization that I most likely won’t, so I’m just caving in and accepting it, and here is the post!

2013 was the year of less projects than I usually do.  This was, in part, due to that I was working full time doing theatre work in the field of costuming, and I didn’t have the desire to come home and do more work, even if it was for myself!  But the projects I did finish, for the most part, I liked.  There were, of course, a few failures.  But it seems like this was the year of BIG PROJECTS.  Most of these were for Costume College.  This could account for why I didn’t finish as many vintage projects as I have in years prior.

A big mention needs to go to The Dreamstress’ “Historical Sew Fortnightly”. It kept me motivated throughout the year, and I loved seeing the sewing projects of other members!  I’m really looking forward to it next year.

Click on the picture to be taken to the blog post, if applicable


Finished the 1899 Jacket.  This will be the first Wearing History pattern of the New Year, after I finish it up (I know, it’s been a long time coming… sorry).


1868 Blue Corset


1930′s Dust Bowl Dress

Jenn’s Wedding Reception Dress


1940′s Bra (for work’s stock) from my digital pattern.




1940′s Overall Pattern Sample

Jeans from the Overall Sample (I guess I never took pictures!)



1940′s Dress for Swing Dancing.  Upper Photo by Sylvia Wong.  I guess I never did a blog post for this.  Oops?

White Petticoat

White 18th Century Petticoat



Late 18th Century Stays


Late 18th Century Curtain-Along Dress- doing my best Mrs Miggins.  (I forgot to do a blog post on this.  Whoops?  Photo by Lauren of American Duchess).


18th Century Silk Petticoat

Striped 1780′s Dress


Plaid Late 1860′s Dress


1930′s Sport Dress from a Bed Sheet

1930′s Adventurey Suit Frock


1930′s Corduroy Sports Jacket


Pattern Sample- 1930′s Day or Evening Blouse and Skirt



Gray Corduroy Smooth Sailing Trousers



Two Dahlia Blouse Samples



1930′s Chiffon Dot Blouse


1940′s Sporty Jacket (just finished two nights ago. No blog post yet!)

I guess I got more done than I thought!

UFO’s (Unfinished Objects)


- blue short sleeve knitted cardigan

- blue knitted sleeveless pullover vest


-1940′s Knit for Victory knit-a-long blouse


-Edwardian Truly Victorian S-curve corset

-gray denim from the 1940′s overall pattern


-border print 1940′s summer dress (A total and utter failure)


- Edwardian tea gown/wrapper


-1910′s linen skirt

-1910′s striped blouse from my Edwardian Blouse pattern

-striped 1940′s blouse from a thrifted man’s shirt

Yup, a lot of projects were started, then abandoned because of lack of time.  If I had been more disciplined, I would have followed through, but I didn’t!  They’re sitting and waiting for me to finish next year, or to abandon for good.

This year I have learned to spend more time on detailing.  What makes me proud of my work are the little fiddly bits that go into them.  Be it insane tucks amount of tucks (like my 18th century silk dress), or pattern matching, or seam and hem finishing- I find I need a good balance of durable, serviceable everyday vintage, and more intricate, difficult, accomplished projects to make me happy with my accomplishments.

Here’s to 2014!  May it bring lots of fun, creativity, and sewing!

Finished Project: 1930′s Polka Dot Blouse

I’m trying to finish up a few little UFO’s before the New Year, and I just happened to have this one finished in time for the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s “Celebrate” challenge.


The pattern I used was an NRA (National Recovery Act) era pattern, which puts it between 1933 and 1935.  I altered the sleeve a bit, but otherwise it’s as the envelope shows, the version at the top with the short sleeve instead of long sleeves.

I was a bit lazy, and sewed it up to the size the pattern is in, even though I know it’s too big for me.  I figure with the ties, the shirt can be tied in.  I’m somewhere between the dress form size and the original pattern size.  Because it’s a bit large, I was also lazy and didn’t bother with a placket- so it just slips on over the head, then ties to fit.

The fabric is a poly chiffon I bought at an estate sale for $5, and for the hem I did a little zig zag and trimmed away.  It was a pain, but I like how narrow of a finish it is.  I’m not very good at rolled hems, so this was a good choice for me.

Here’s the HSF required info:

The Challenge:  “Celebrate”  Last challenge of the year!

Fabric: Poly chiffon

Pattern: Simplicity 1676, an authentic original 1930′s pattern

Year: 1933-1935 (NRA period)

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? Not very.  The fabric is not accurate, and the finishing is a mix between vintage and modern.  The cut is authentic, of course, since an original pattern was used.

Hours to complete: Maybe around 10-12ish.  Chiffon is fiddly!

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: Somewhere around $40, including pattern cost.

Finished Project: A Tissot Inspired Ensemble

This may be the latest posted “Finished Project” on my blog EVER.  In fact, I finished this many years ago, before I even had a blog!  It’s one of those projects that I felt completely inspired by, intended to wear to an event, but then put away and never took out again.  Well, I was determined to take photographs in it this year.  To be honest, I highly doubted I would actually fit in it, but a little squeezing from my new corset I made this year, and it *barely* fit.  Good enough for pictures, anyways!

When I first became aware of James Tissot’s amazing paintings, I wanted to make a bunch of dresses inspired by them.  This one, “At the Rifle Range” (or “Woman at the Rifle Range”) from 1869 was an instant favorite because it appealed to my inner adventuress.


My husband was sweet enough to instruct me how to stand, so we could play at replicating the feel of the pose.  Here, with photoshopped background to look more autumn/winter-y than we currently are in Southern California.  The pistol is just a toy.


And here is how the plants really look in November where we live.  I honestly wish we had some sort of weather- the years tend to kind of run together when you don’t have a visual representation of the changing of the seasons.


Unfortunately, I can’t give details on it because I honestly don’t remember what I did, but I DO know I used Truly Victorian for a base of top and overskirt (though I can’t remember which ones), and changed the patterns, but the underskirt is my all time favorite base skirt, the Grand Parlour Skirt.  The fabric is an odd, interior decor fabric of sueded synthetic fibres, and the trim is faux fur.

Here’s a view of the back.  I used antique cut steel buttons.


Trying to be Christmas-y with a vintage fur muff.1870fur3webAnd some kitty pictures for good measure :)1870fur4web1870fur5web

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Many blessings to you and yours.