VPLL Project 0219 Blouse — Part 1

May 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm (Sewing Projects, The 1912 Project)

I decided to tackle the pattern without instructions because… hey… I need the points!!  Seriously, when I saw this blouse available I immediately thought about making it into a summer blouse, with a peplum.  My second thought was to change the grain of the pattern.  It is a biased-cut pattern.  While I “thought” about changing the grain, in the end I decided not to because… hey… no instructions and I was going to have to wing it and didn’t want to add another wrinkle to this task.

Darling DannyO is fishing for the weekend and I am puttering around.  My legs are not working, but my eyes are so I decided to begin this project.  I’ve got my CD player “shuffling” between Adele, Jill Scott, India.Arie and Esperanza Spalding – if that doesn’t motivate me, nothing will. 🙂

I have a stash of fabric that I “shopped” for in my friend’s sunroom.  She had a room full of fabric she needed to get rid of and she let her friends who sewed “shop.” I decided to use a piece of blue floral cotton.   The fabric was free.  The bias tape was free.  The buttons were free.   I pre-washed the cotton fabric and ironed it smoothly.

Free Fabric, Bias Tape and Buttons (YAY!)

Because the pattern is cut on the bias it does require more fabric than a straight-grained garment

The first thing I did was to lop off the sleeves.  I didn’t take any careful measurements because I intend to make them very short and will adjust as the garment is sewed.  I also lopped off some of the yoke.  I picture in my mind’s eye a peasant-style neckline.  I also need to cut carefully in order to leave enough fabric for the peplum.  Remember that the back yoke is cut on a folded bias.    If you are making the blouse in its original state, I’d recommend that you have at least 2 yards of 45” fabric available – 2 ½ if you want to be certain to have enough material.

Pattern Layout (remember, I lopped off the sleeves and the top of the yoke pieces)

I cut all of the pieces on the bias, including the button placket (4 pieces of the button placket).  I also cut two pieces of the placket out of a lightweight interfacing.  I know that probably negates any benefit from cutting the fashion fabric on the bias, but I was concerned that the placket would stretch and twist when I added the buttonholes.

On to the sewing…

  1.  Sew the front yokes (2 pieces) and back yoke together at the shoulder seams, matching #22 & #23—using a 3/8” seam.  Press towards the back yoke piece.  Baste corners #25 and #26 and clip to seam line.
  2. Pin bias tape to the outside seams of the yoke, clipping at the corners to eliminate any bulk/pleats.  Baste and press well.

    Bias tape basted on to the front and back yoke pieces

  3. Mark the pleats on the two front bodice pieces.  Pin and iron the pleats towards the side seam, matching lines. (you should have three tiny pleats)  Baste across seam line (3/8”) over all of the pleats.

    Pleats on front bodice marked with chalk

    Front pleats basted into place

  4. Stay-stitch around the curved bodice pieces, from #25 to #26 (the seam that attaches to the yoke) – clipping the curve to the stay stitching.

It is 10:10 p.m.  I’ve been up since 5:00 a.m.  I am not going to sew another seam tonight… but I am going to pin the bodice piece(s) to the yoke piece before I go to bed.  I don’t know what the recommendation is for pinning and sewing the yoke piece to the bodice piece (remember…no instructions) but here is my suggestion.

  1.  Start at corner #25 and pin down the front of the yoke/bodice (to #24).  Do the same to the second front straight seam.  Baste the corner seam at #25.   Starting at #25, sew a 3/8” seam to the bottom edge of the front bodice on each yoke piece.
  2. Start at corner #26 and pin down the back of the yoke/bodice (to #27).  Do the same to the opposite side of the back straight seam.  Baste the corner seam at #26.  Starting at #26, sew the 3/8” seam to the bottom edge of the back bodice on each side of the back yoke.

    Basting the #25 & #26 corners

    The straight seam from the #25 corners to the bottom of the garment

** because this garment is cut on the bias, you should always sew like seams in the same direction, preferably from top to bottom.  If you sew in different directions, you may develop a problem that the bias garment will not lay correctly.  It can be awkward if you aren’t use to flipping seams.  Tomorrow, when I’ve had my coffee I will show you what I mean.  I certainly hope this fits me.   I like the way this is looking 🙂  I’ve got lots of plans for the bias tape to be involved in the peplum… stay tuned for the rest of the story!!

Good Morning!  I’ve got a pot of coffee and a piece of my homemade sweet bread (with honey) under my belt… literally!!!  On to the rest of the story…

  1.  Pin the bodice to the neckline from #25 to #26.  Because you have stay-stitched and clipped the bodice piece, it will curve around the yoke piece perfectly. There are no diamond markings to match up pattern pieces, so I would suggest starting at #25, pin a few inches, move to #26, pin a few inches.  Work this way until you meet in the middle.  It should match perfectly!!
  2. Sew the bodice to the yoke (3/8” seam) and press well.

    Pinning the yoke to the bodice from #25 to #26 — the stay-stitched, curved edge

At this point, I didn’t like the way the bias tape looked at the corners, so I ended up opening up each seam, cutting the bias tape and re-sewing the corners.  I think it is just a matter of preference what you decide to do.

Blouse without the button placket sewn on

On to the button placket.

  1.  Iron the lightweight interfacing to the button placket pieces (2)
  2. Sew the plackets to the front of the garment.

    Blouse with the button placket sewed on the front

I will finish the piece and blog about it within the next week… (I promise!!!)  So far, I like where this is going 🙂

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VPLL 1912 Project — 0219 Blouse… Step 1

May 2, 2012 at 11:42 am (0219 Blouse, The 1912 Project)

When I first started the VPLL project I wanted my patterns mailed to me, mostly because I was afraid…  but then I realized that if I took a chance and had the patterns sent to me in a PDF file, I would get them quickly.  If it didn’t work out, I could always go back to the mail option.  There is a wonderful link, HERE to show you, how to download, print and tape,  but I thought I’d blog about my success using that page.

I worked on the ladies wrap and unfortunately ironed a big hole in my fashion fabric… so I scrapped that for now.  I did make a muslin of the E0291 and blogged about my steps.  You can see blog post HERE.

I wanted to share the steps of receiving a pattern in Letter form — to take the uncertainty out of the process.  I live in Nanty Glo, PA and do not have ready access to a Kinko’s or Staple’s.  I have an HP Deskjet 5550 and some cheap paper.  After requesting the #0219 blouse pattern  in LTR form and got the password I was good to go.  I already checked my printer when I asked for the E0291 Ladies Wrap so I know it is calibrated correctly.  If you haven’t done that, click the  link,  LTR Size Measuring Box  and follow the links to make sure your printer will print the correct size.

The pattern itself is 17 pages.  This pattern does not have any directions ((Yikes!!)) That is another post for another day.  I plan to modernize the pattern and sew it from a pretty blue eyelet remnant I have in my stash…  Okay… The printer asked me if I knew I was printing beyond the normal printing surface and I told it I knew… and to proceed.

The pattern itself doesn’t require much ink because it is a few lines on a many pieces of paper…  Unfortunately,  the registration marks and the Column/Row indications are also not on the printable area.  Easy-peasy…

The first thing I did was to take each of the 17 pages and, using the PDF pages on my computer as a reference, transferred the Row # and Column# to each page.

Applying the Row/Column indicators by hand.

The next thing I did was to lay the pattern out on the floor based upon the Column/Row numbers.

Laying the pattern pieces in the order based on Column/Row numbers

The next step was to butt each page up against each other.  The registration marks did not print — out of the printable area.  No problem.  I took 4 pages at a time and made a perfect + and taped the four corners with a tiny piece of tape.

Matched four corners to a + and taped

Once the pages were all taped together, the unprintable areas needed to be joined.  I just used a small straight edge and joined the lines… while looking at my computer, but mostly using common sense.

Joining the pattern lines

Finally, on this particular pattern, one piece, Row 2 of 4, Column 4 of 5 was accidentally placed upside down.  How did I know that??  The “E0219” mark, that is in the left/bottom corner of each page was upside-down.  So, I corrected that.

Mark in the correct position :-)  (not upside down)

There you have it! It took me an hour, tops!  I figure it would take me 25 minutes one way and 2 gallons of gas to go to our nearest Staple’s store.  I also know how long it takes to open a new pattern and cut all of the pieces out…

Now I need to figure out pattern directions, how to change the straight of grain, lower the neckline, add arm scythes to make separate sleeves and add a little peplum… Whew!!  That’s certainly going to be the hardest part of sewing this pattern!!  Wish me luck!!

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#E0291 – Ladies Afternoon Wrap

March 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm (Sewing Projects, The 1912 Project)

Since Amanda’s wedding is over (pictures and thoughts to follow in subsequent posts – it was a beautiful day and perfect in every way), I turned my efforts to working on a muslin mockup of #0291, Ladies Afternoon Wrap.  I am working with the VPLL 1912 Project.  We are sewing through patterns released in 1912, the year the Titanic sunk.

#0291 Ladies Afternoon Wrap, February 4, 1912

I realized right off that the layout was incorrect.  This is the way it should be…

Correct layout placement

I cut the pattern pieces out of muslin.  I also cut two bias strips 55” long X 3” wide.  After cutting out the muslin the correct way, I marked all lines, darts and slash lines.  The most important lines to include are the waist lines and trim placement lines. The front of my garment pattern piece did not have a waistline marking.  I used the back waist mark to draft the front marking.   I included some squares, circles and triangles to help with the process.  I did not bother to cut out the belt and belt trim because I intend to make this out of a very cool piece of fabric I got at an auction years ago.

I then began to follow the instructions… as I am OCD, I try to follow to a “T” but I did make some notes that should make my subsequent version easier.

“Slash on indicated lines at shoulder darts… on wrong side, join darts matching and sewing on the seam allowance.” I sewed the darts first and then cut the slashes.  It made it easier to sew.

“With a small stitch length, sew a reinforcement seam…”  I followed this paragraph exactly as written, reinforcing the underarm slashes.

For Wrap Without Lining:

“Turn under one long edge of the bias trim strips 3/8 inch and hem for a finished edge. “ I turned the edge under 3/8” but did not hem, just pressed very well. 

“Place wrong side of Trim strip to right side of Wrap, matching finished edge to indicated Trim Placement line – pin into place. Cut lower raw edge of Trim Strip to match contours of lower edge of Wrap.  Unpin Trim Strip from Wrap. “  This step is unnecessary.  The next paragraph I re-wrote as follows:

Place the right side of the Trim Strip to the wrong side of the Wrap, matching finished edge to indicated Trim Placement line.  Pin.  Cut lower raw edge to match contours of lower edge of Wrap.   Iron the center of the garment so bias strip conforms to the curve of the garment.  Sew trim to Wrap along raw edge, using a 3/8 seam allowance.  Trim seam and press seam up toward Wrap.

Cutting the trim to match the curve of the garment

Steamed the bias trim to fit the edge after I cut it to fit

Turn the Trim Strip to the right side of the garment and topstitch all layers close along placement line

Pressing bias trim strip towards seam

Sewing the bias trim close to edge long trim placement line

As I moved through the instructions, everything went well until I came to “make soft tuck in wrap fronts by bringing the #2 to the #1 at the waistline and tacking in place to hold.”  I neither had a waistline on the front of my garment or a #1 or #2!  I folded the garment at the shoulder darts and matched the back and front lower edges.  I used the back waistline line and drew a front waistline.  I looked at the picture of the garment and made my #2 mark 3” from the center edge and my #1 mark 4” inches from the center edge at my new waistline mark.  I made the soft tuck based on those measurements.  I made sure to make the correct marks on the pattern piece.

“Make a soft double tuck, in Wrap backs by stacking the number twos and bringing them to the number one at the waistline and tacking in place to hold.”  At this point I realized that while I had a waistline on my back, I could not see the #2’s and #1 on the back for the double tuck.  It must have been on the “unprintable margins” from my printer.  I drafted my #1 2 ¾” from the center back edge.  The #2’s are ¾” away from #1 mark on each side at the waistline.

With Right sides together, join the center back seam of the Wrap…” I followed this paragraph but then realized that the instructions did not include sewing the center front darts.  I sewed them at this point, but realized that they were too shallow.  I increased the dart depth by ¼” on each side of the dart.  Again, I made the correct adjustments on the pattern piece.

"soft tucks" (double" on each side of the center back seam)

“With right sides together, join the collar pieces along the center back seam between numbers 19 and 20.”  I added a square at 19.  I followed the seam and added a circle at the end of the collar side seam.

“With right sides together, join the two collars along the upper edge, starting at number 19 and sewing along the wide flared end opposite.”  I sewed to the circle I added, sewing from the square to the circle. I then flipped the collar and sewed from the square to the other circle on the opposite end.  Sewing it this way keeps the collar, which is off-grain, from getting distorted.

“Trim the seams narrowly and turn the collar right side out.  Press.”

Collar stitching from center back seam to circle...

Circle I added to the lower edge of the collar to match with the garment

“Join the collar to the neck edge of the wrap, matching the center back to the number 20 on the wrap.”  I added a triangle on the collar pattern to match to the shoulder dart.  I also added a circle to the center front of the wrap to match the circle on the collar. At this point I also understitched the collar to the front seam – from circle to circle.

Collar stitched to wrap

The back of the wrap

Front (without the finished seams)

I will make the wrap out of my chosen fabric and work through these steps with the sheer, colorful fabric.  I will make choices of finishing based upon how the fabric folds and hangs.  I already have an idea to use some beads instead of tassels on the finished garment.

The very fun fabric I have chosen for the wrap

There you have it!!  My first 1912 Project garment!!

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The 1912 Project

January 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm (Sewing Projects, The 1912 Project)

I am getting geared up to help with The 1912 Project.  Remember, I also have to make my Mother Of the Bride dress, bake goodies for 200 people (for the reception – recipes will be in future blogs. I’ve found some great ones!)  I have collected patterns for 30 years.  I’ve gotten them from auctions and Goodwill.  They were all up in the attic.  I realized today that isn’t a good place for them to be.  They are not in pristine condition, but the cold and hot will deteriorate them faster than normal.  As I was looking through the patterns I found two that seem to be the earliest… they are 15 cents.  Unfortunately the afternoon dress pattern only has the instructions (such as they are), no pattern pieces.

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Simplicity 1091 Size 14 ~~ Hollywood Pattern 1416 Size 14

Here is my collection of patterns between 25 and 35 cents.

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Many Many Many Patterns

These are a few coat patterns I love and would someday like to transcribe just for me.

Butterick 5519, Butterick 5908, Butterick 6852

This is a maternity blouse – ha!  I remember wearing those tent blouses.  My Momma wore the skirts with the holes cut out in the middle of them.

Simplicity 4718

 This pattern I started a few years ago (obviously I got stuck somewhere and quit.).  I love the cut of the jacket.

Vogue 5073

 I love the necklines of these obviously 1950 patterns!

McCalls 9434 - McCalls 9611

This dress pattern isn’t that old, but it has special memories.  I made and wore this dress to Buck and Mary’s Wedding in November of 1979.  That was the day I met my darling DannyO.  He kept telling me my dress was on backwards.   Bahahaha!  That started what has been 31 years of wonderfulness. 🙂

Simplicity 9190

 I do not know how to date the patterns but I am going to keep them under my bed where they will be safer.  If anyone is interested in them, I can give you specifics of a certain pattern and either lend it to you or you can buy it… I’ve never done that either, but I feel these need to be seen!!!

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My Mother of The Bride Dress – Part 1

January 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm (Sewing Projects, The 1912 Project)

This is the first time I’ve ever made a muslin test garment of anything and I’m 52 and have been sewing since I’ve been 10 years old. Why? You ask? Let me ‘splain. When I was 10 I was fearless. I made a beautiful Easter dress and a hat out of some cotton fabric my mom had in her stash. When I was 13, I made a purple jumpsuit because… Donny Osmond’s favorite color was purple. Through my teenage years I just sewed and sewed. When I was at Grace College, I made my “Lucy” costume for “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Definitely my "ugly duckling" stage


I loved being a diva! I used an ice skating pattern for this (it was 1978 🙂

In my 20’s I weighed 110 pounds, had no bulges and just sewed. When I was sewing baby and toddler clothing for darling Amanda, I never made a test garment. When she was a teenager, I made all of her prom and formal dresses. Amanda has a beautiful figure and there was never any doubt the dresses would fit.

I didn't use a pattern -- we saw a dress she liked...


Winter formal dress -- 1999

Cut to 2012 – this is the most important dress I’ve ever made in my life. I weigh *** . Thank goodness they no longer require weight to be listed on drivers’ licenses! I have so many lumps and bumps and jiggles that spanx will be needed and a muslin test garment is a necessary step! Patterns are also not “vanity” sized like ready-to-wear garments are sized. In a store I wear a 6 or an 8. In a pattern a 12 may be too small.

In my previous blog I posted a picture of my dress pattern and my fabric. I found my Threads Magazine, 151 from October/November 2010. In it Susan Khalje gives fabulous instructions on how to make a muslin test garment.

I received nearly a bolt of muslin from my massage therapist, Ginny. She was giving away a room of fabric and her friends who sewed got to “shop” in that room! Thank you, Ginny! I’ll see you in February!

Truthfully, as I was following Ms. Khalje’s instructions to the “T” (remember, I have OCD), I nearly quit. It seemed to be so much work… to cut, trace, sew, sew, sew… and that was before I evened sewed a seam. I used a spool of cheap black thread to mark the seams, a charcoal pencil to mark all of the notches, circles and squares. I then sewed the seams with pink thread – you know, my favorite color is pink… I’ve got oodles of pink thread just lying around! Sewing the seams together was the easiest part. I am learning (again… I know I knew this important tidbit years ago) that pressing is important to “shape” seams. Muslin is almost indestructible so I am ironing this sucker to death! Here is my garment all sewed together. The next step is to see if it fits… Yikes!! To be continued…

After 4 hours of work...

This is also a valuable experience for my next adventure. I am sewing test garments in “The 1912 Project.” I have joined other, many more experienced than I, sewers to, first make muslin test garments, and then if we’d like, to make the garments out of “real” fabric. We are sewing through a French Pattern Catalog of 1912 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic.

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