Vogue 1192 – not worth the frustration


I had a wedding to attend this last weekend and for a long time I had this dress in mind from the Threads Sept. 2012 issue. This gorgeous silk shantung dress on this full figured gal.


Now I did do some research of other reviews of this pattern on the web, but so seduced was I by this magazine siren, I ignored the warnings of the other sewists, including a professional seamstress. Now I did make a muslin from the size 14 and had a few adjustments to make, but nothing major. So far so good. So out comes my gorgeous hot turquoise 100% Silk Dupioni and teal 100% Silk Habotai for the lining.

Adjustments I made: pinched out one inch/2.5cm in the neckline of each of the front pieces, and pinched out one half an inch/1.3cm out of each back neckline piece. I cut the shoulders at the size 12 line because I tend to run short from the top of my shoulder to the bottom of the armscye. I lowered the top point of the dart by 1 inch to match my bust point in the left front bodice piece and changed it to an “S” dart shape to try to avoid the pointy tip which worked moderately well.

First disaster: it was late at night and I should have stopped earlier. I ended up cutting out the pleat portion in the left side of the fashion fabric and not the lining like the instructions said to do. So I inserted a set of pleats to replace the vent using Lekala’s Pencil Skirt With Pleats Pattern #S3013. Luckily I had lots of leftover fabric. This fix worked perfectly and looked like something I added on purpose.

See my wrinkled pleats:

The lining is where it becomes a NIGHTMARE. The instructions were VERY difficult and took several readings to work it out and I’m a very experienced seamstress. If you are making this dress out of a woven, you have my sympathies. Because of the crazy lining, I was not able to refine the fit in the actual garment, which I really wish I had been able to do. The finished dress is not quite right and the cross over neckline still gapes even though I took the recommended precautions of stabilizing the neckline with stitching and interfacing. Plus I cut the lining piece 1/2 inch shorter than the fashion fabric and eased it in. Other reviewers who made it out of a knit had far better success. Avoiding the lining seems to be the key. I had to line mine because Dupioni FRAYS!!!

You can see here where the left bodice piece shifts and the bust dart is no longer centered under my bust and is tucking into the side seam under my arm.

The dress was okay and it worked for this event, but I won’t be wearing it again. I love the side draping but there are way easier patterns out there with this kind of detail. This pattern got pitched immediately into the trash. By the way, the bolero is this really great FREE pattern from Integral-T here.

Vintage Pledge – Second Project Done

Here is my Anne Adams 4402 swing dancing dress. Eagle Field 2

Anne Adams 4402A small group from my swing dance class, Creston Swing Dancers, flew over to Eagle Field in Los Banos for the 30th Annual Eagle Field Fly In event. My co-teacher and one of the students are pilots, so the guys flew us in two small planes from the Central Coast (Paso Robles) over the mountain range to the San Joaquin Valley.Christina and the Officer The group at Eagle Field put on a WWII reenactment on the air field and held a dinner dance with music from a live big band. It was a blast! Here’s a quick Youtube clip of my teaching partner and I in that night’s dance contest. We had been dancing for hours already and were pretty exhausted by the time the contest came up, but my dress is nice and swishy!


Vintage Pledge – First Project Done – Dubarry 5747

I finished up my first Vintage Pledge – an easy project to get me rolling – this 1940s apron by Dubarry 5747.Dubarry 5747 dThe fabric is a novelty cotton from Joann’s. It’s a quilting weight cotton and works well for this project. It would be too stiff for any sort of dress with drape.Dubarry 5747 aI made my own bias binding and the ruffle around the heart shaped pocket from “On the Dot” by Greta Lynn cotton. I tilted the placement of the heart pocket on an angle to match the natural angle of my arm and hand. It was quick to make. The longest part was all that bias tape. Dubarry 5747 bI’m noticing that many patterns from the 1940s use bias binding instead of facing in garments. Maybe to save on fabric during war rationing? Anybody know?

The Ubiquitous Poodle Skirt

When most people think of a 1950s themed party, the ubiquitous poodle skirt comes to mind. My mother, who was a teenager in the 1950s, said EVERYONE had a poodle skirt. bw poodle skirtHers was a handmade one, sewn from pre-printed panels. She said it was black with a printed pink poodle on it. The poodle skirt was so common, she didn’t consider it photo-worthy, so therefore no photos of her wearing it, darn it!

vintage skirt panels

Juli Lynne Charlot is considered the originator of the poodle skirt. In 1947, the 25 year old former actress/singer wanted to an outfit to wear to a Christmas party. Since she didn’t sew, she simply cut a large circle of felt, with a smaller hole in the middle for her waist, and appliqued Christmas trees onto it. Charlot’s mother owned a factory which used felt, so she was able to cut a complete circle skirt without needing any seams. She received so many compliments at that fateful party that she made two more skirts and took them to a Beverly Hills boutique and the rest is history.Juli Lynne Charlot

Charlot’s first doggie skirt had dachshunds and it wasn’t all that popular, so she tried poodles and bam! The poodle skirt became a phenomenal success. She didn’t limit herself to poodles though. She designed circle skirts with all kinds of themes.Juli Lynne Charlot6 Juli Lynne Charlot5bw embellished skirt

Of course sewing pattern companies took note of the popularity of the themed circle skirt and came up with their own versions for the home sewist.

McCalls 2252 Simplicity 3953 Simplicity 1664

Mccalls 3591 Simplicity 4884 Simplicity 4957 Simplicity 4784

And the teens came up with their own creations too.

bw elvis skirtKind of reminds me of the themed Christmas Sweater. It was a great “canvas” to go crazy creative on.

Finally starting on the Vintage Pattern Pledge

I finally have a nice block of time to start on the Vintage Pattern Pledge. I’m going to start with the easiest project first – Dubarry 5747, an apron from the 1940’s.Dubarry 5747

I’m going to use this cute “Skirts and Boots” fabric I found at Joann’s (USA):skirts and boots

Then next in line is this dress from Anne Adams, again from the 1940’s:Anne Adams 4402

With maybe this vintage Rayon from my fabric stash:Aqua w heartsLast night while my husband watched “Alias” on Netflix, I traced out the patterns onto spa paper. This is the most tedious part, in my opinion, of working with actual vintage patterns. The apron I’ll just go right to the fashion fabric. But for the dress, I’ll mock up a muslin first. I tend to have lots of fitting adjustments with vintage sewing patterns.

My Adventures in Bollywood

Each year my local library hosts a fundraiser show called “Dancing With Our Stars”. It’s the same premise as the TV show “Dancing with The Stars” where local ballroom dance teachers team up with local “Stars”, like the mayor, chief of police, bank manager, etc…, and teach them to do a dance routine. This is all for charity and the “Stars” are responsible for raising money. Us teachers just get to be creative. This year I was requested to do a Bollywood number (yes, we are allowed to go outside the “ballroom box”) since the head of the Friends of The Atascadero Library board knew that I’m a licensed Zumba instructor and have taken many workshops with a Bhangra & Bollywood teacher in San Francisco. Plus the board president just really digs Bollywood. So my first step for costuming was to take a look at my Burda 7701 pattern.Burda 7701 I used this pattern to make petticoats and choli tops. Then I found an excellent youtube clip on how to do those complicated saree wrappings. I needed some sarees, so I immediately hopped onto Ebay to search out some pretty ones at a reasonable price. There are some really beautiful ones out there and I was surprised at how quickly they shipped from India to California. I got these from this Ebay Seller:Saree group 1 And I bought this group of Sarees from this Ebay seller. These are the ones we actually wore in the show:Saree group 2 And here we are in the dance studio for a trial dress rehearsal. So far so good. We were able to dance in them and I taught the girls how to wrap sarees.IMG_0439 Then at the official dress rehearsal of the show, to my dismay I discovered that since I was in several numbers, I had many costumes changes and not much time to do it in. I  didn’t have time to wrap a saree and make it in time for the next cue. Yowza! So then I had to turn my saree into a Lehenga style outfit, meaning a skirt with a separate stole. I pulled Simplicity 5914 out of my pattern stash to make a skirt with a few modifications.Simplicity 5914I made View A and underlined the saree fabric with a red china silk.IMG_0104I had to cut off the gold border from the saree fabric and re-attach after the skirt was sewn (and hung for 48 hours to allow for stretching along the bias areas).IMG_0106On the inside waist band, I added a double wide bias tape channel and threaded a drawcord through it. That made it more secure to wear dancing with no fear it would slide down to my knees. Plus, I can use it again even if my weight fluctuates, which it is prone to do.IMG_0113Then the remaining saree fabric is used as the stole wrap. Thank goodness sarees have many yards of fabric!IMG_0110 Voilà! A Bollywood outfit I could put on in just a couple of minutes.Bolly Bolly Julie Dunn & Christina Troxel By the way, we raised $90,000 for our local library with this show. Wahoo!!!

Angela Lansbury – 1940’s Hairstyles

Dame Angela Lansbury, a British-American actress (she has dual citizenship), has an acting career spanning seven decades in theatre, films and television. Angela Lansbury 1945bShe first came to Hollywood in 1942 and landed her first role as the cheeky, sassily wicked cockney maid in “Gaslight” in 1944. MBDGASL EC050She was just 17 years old and received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role. angela-lansbury-1944Unfortunately her career with MGM never really took off, always being cast in supporting roles, which in my opinion was a huge mistake on their part, and she stayed on the “B” list of actresses until she got fed up and left in 1952 when she terminated her contract with them. 51J3yhqDU+L._SY445_ “I kept wanting to play the Jean Arthur roles, and Mr Mayer kept casting me as a series of venal bitches.” -Angela Lansbury Angela Lansbury 1948 She went on to act in more movies as a freelance actress, but Lansbury found herself typecast as an older, maternal figure. “Hollywood made me old before my time”, noting that in her twenties she was receiving fan mail from people who believed her to be in her forties. I think it’s wonderful that she didn’t give up and continued to re-ignite her career on the stage and in television. Angela Lansbury 1945a I will always remember her as Jessica Fletcher in the popular TV mystery series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 years. For me, she was the American Miss Marple. She is quite the role model, remaining active even into her 80’s, playing Madame Arcati in London’s West End in a revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit just last year at the age of 88 years young. Well done Angela Lansbury!

Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015

I missed out on this last year, but Marie of  www.astitchingodyssey.com, is bringing back the “Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge” for a second year! Marie starting the pledge in 2014 because she had been buying vintage and reproduction sewing patterns faster than she could sew them (isn’t that true for most of us?). So she is doing it again this year and inviting all lovers of Vintage Sewing to take the pledge with her. You can see last year’s makes here on her Pinterest board. And you can join her pledge here.
From A Stitching Odysey:
This year the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge is going to be even bigger and better, mainly because I have a co-host! The wonderful Kerry of Kestrel Makes and I will be working tirelessly to bring you monthly inspiration posts through the decades, insights into fellow stitchers’ vintage pattern stashes, giveaways and discounts, round-ups of your makes, and final prizes. Exciting stuff, no!?! 
Whether you’re taking part in the pledge or not, if you have an enviable or eclectic vintage sewing pattern collection we’d love to hear from you! You could be one of our montly interviewees!
If numerical targets aren’t your thing, there are many other ways you can join in, like pledging to:
  • Use your first ever vintage sewing pattern.
  • Sew up a specific pattern from your stash.
  • Explore patterns from a particular decade.
  • Have fun patterns from a certain range of decades.
  • Get creative with you vintage sewing patterns!

I’ll have to think about how I want to participate. Now I could pledge to 5 muslins, or even wearable muslins. That I think I could manage into my sewing queue… Yay! A new reason to go play with my pattern stash!Vintage pledge_edited-1