Vintage Simplicity 1281 – Finished!

I can’t believe this, but I really finished this project already! 6 days after deciding to make it, with only 4 or 5 of those days being utilized as “work” days, I have a lovely new piece of clothing. WHOA!


Doing my happy flailing dance!


Back view


Strap and waistband detail–not too shabby!


Side button; the other waistband tab is sticking up…oops!


Enjoying the fullness of the skirt

Now for all the details! I obviously shortened the skirt quite a bit; I just didn’t see myself enjoying a below-the-knee skirt with this much volume and structure. I’m really happy with the length, although I wish I had been a little more careful when trimming off the excess and judging how much hem length to leave. I made a real hackjob of removing about 4″ initially, and then sewed on my Flexi Lace. I then pressed the hem to my desired length, which was at least 3″ of extra fabric. I tried to fold the hem under again, which of course was bulky and awful, so I cut most of that off (lace included) and just did about a 1″ single fold blind hem. I also opted to not follow the instructions for sewing the straps. Instead, I followed a tutorial (cannot remember what blog, sorry!) for purse straps. I cut 3 times the width of the pattern piece and pressed in half lengthwise; then I unfolded it and folded each side in to the center crease, and then folded in half one more time. I pressed the hell of out of them and then topstitched up each side. I love the results! They’re sturdy and durable and attractive–the perfect straps, really. Honestly, I didn’t even read the strap instructions included with the pattern. I found that tutorial and knew that was how I wanted to approach the task.

Now for the things that proved to be a challenge or that I wish I had conceived differently. First up: the grainline. For some reason, it never occurred to me that the grainlines wouldn’t be on the bias all the way around just by following the cutting instructions. If I make this again, I’ll try to match them. I don’t think anyone else will even notice this, since it’s a cotton twill and the grain is only visible if you get right up to it.

The waistband is also bothering me a tiny bit, because I can’t decide if I want to topstitch all the way around it. Right now it’s just at the border of the skirt and the bottom of the band. If anyone has an opinion on that one way or the other, please share!

Attaching the straps was a little weird. I’m guessing that it would have been more straightforward if I had pinned them to the waistband before topstitching it (and especially if I had topstitched around the top and bottom of the waistband), but I totally didn’t. Instead, I attached them by hand. My hand stitching isn’t great (except for buttons and hemming) so I’m not sure how that will hold up; it sure isn’t pretty, that’s for sure!

I can’t wait to wear this skirt, you guys. It will be a good transitional piece, pairing well with tights and sweaters in the fall and spring, plus the color will be easy to coordinate. My next project will either be more blouses or a pair of 1960’s skinny pants. For now, though, I’ll take a few days off–this project was a marathon!

And Suddenly, The Wild Beast of Ambition Appears!

I’ve been MIA online lately due to a busy meatspace schedule, but here’s an update!

You may remember me flapping my gums about this pattern a few months ago:


Vintage Simplicity 1281

I never got around to starting on this one like I meant to, having gotten distracted by other projects. BUT! Not only have I finally gotten this pattern out of the envelope, I’ve actually started sewing it in my fashion fabric. BEHOLD!


It’s inside-out and not fully ironed, but you get the idea!

I’m really excited about this project right now. Mostly because we’ve been drafted for family photos next weekend, and our instructions are to wear black and/or grey, plus an accent color. The other instruction was to keep it casual. These restrictions pretty much left me with jeans (I’ve even got a pair in grey!) and a black jumper, but I refuse to be photographed in those things (I only wear skinny jeans, and am not comfortable having every outline of my lower body photographed, and the black jumper rides up the moment I move in it, plus is too big in the tummy region). Naturally, this created a bit of a problem for me in terms of wardrobe. And then I remembered this pattern and fabric, and I decided I would wear this–just as soon as I finished making it, anyway. 

This is a serious time-crunch project: I decided to make it on Monday this week, and the photos are happening next weekend. But given how much progress I’ve made after just one sewing session, I’m feeling optimistic. My obstacles will be a lapped zipper (UGH UGH UGH) and making sure the straps are an appropriate length. I need to cut about 3-4″ off of the bottom of the skirt as is before hemming, because I do not want a long skirt. It’s hanging up for now to let the bias grain stretch; don’t want to ruin all my hard work by not doing this step!

I’m curious, y’all: what’s the tightest deadline you’ve ever given yourself for a start-to-finish sewing project? Did you get it done in time? Were you happy with the finished result?

Vintage Silk Pajamas: OMG!

This is another one of my vintage collection humble-brag posts, although I do have a new sewing project or two that I’m actively working on.

My best friend loved my Fall for Cotton blouse so much that when I offered to make her one of her own, she actually agreed to let me do that. Same fabric too, since I have plenty of it left; we’ll just have to call each other before hanging out to make sure that we aren’t both wearing it! I spent about 30 minutes this morning re-drafting the back pattern piece to suit her measurements, and I still have the front piece to do (plus the facing pieces, which I used to interface the neck opening rather than create facings). I want to have that done early this week so I can start the muslin for her to try on ASAP. On top of that, I’m going to try to make a muslin of the pants pattern that I’m obsessed with at the moment. I should really be pouring over my blouse patterns, since that’s where my wardrobe is really thin, but those damned pants have been calling to me for a long time! On top of all of that, I’m working 7 days a week–until 7PM or sometimes 8PM on weeknights–and I’m trying to re-work my routine so that I can keep the house clean, be prepared for band practice each week, and still find time to eat and shower and talk to my husband and pet my cats and dog. Yikes.

ANYWAY. I got these AMAZING silk pajamas at The Alley (my local vintage haunt/second place of employment) and I am in love with them. It’s not a matching set, but I don’t care–the pieces look cute together and are both made of silk, so there was no way I was letting them stay behind at the store!


Aren’t they yummy??


Pants! The waistband comes to a point in front and has a deco feel to it.


Top! It’s slouchy and super comfortable.

The shop owner wasn’t working today, so I can’t confirm the age of these pieces, but the pants could be really old. I’m basing that on the downward point of the front of the waistband, which is very art deco-inspired. They’re a little too short for me (more like pirate pants or knickers than pants) but are SO comfy. Seriously, I’m not going to want my ass to be covered by non-silk pants anymore. I wish I could live in these forever. I’m fairly certain that the top is newer than the pants, but it’s no less awesome. I got these ‘jammies TODAY, and was so excited that I had to wear and blog them at once. I feel like people who sleep in silk PJs just wake up feeling and looking more beautiful and serene, and I’m eager to test that totally unscientific theory.

Indecision, or “My Brain Feels Like A Hive of Bees”

So I haven’t done ANY sewing since I finished my Fall for Cotton project. I haven’t even cleaned up my sewing area any further–the ghoulish heap of muslin that is Simplicity 3073 is still wadded up on my cutting mat, which is covering half of my dining room table. I have an idea for how to tweak the placket on that dress, but haven’t bothered to try it yet. 

The thing I struggle with most as a sewist, apart from being lazy, is the absolutely constant buzzing of ideas in my head. Just when I think I’ve settled on a queue order, I find a new pattern or fabric that piques my interest, and off I go in a new direction. I like having ideas and being inspired, but I wish I could focus! I have this muslin sitting on my table, but now I’m torn between wanting to make more vintage blouses–I have some amazing patterns and fabric in my stash for that–and wanting to make a pair of super-skinny 1960’s ankle-length pants (for which I have ordered some stretch denim) from the patterns I got from my cousin. And yet, even with all these ideas and resources to make them come to life, I struggle to muster the energy to sit down and work on things after getting up at 5AM, working until almost 5PM, sometimes working until 7 or 8 at the vintage store (which I love doing, but boy am I tired these days!), and taking care of my pets and the house. Thus, I am in awe of all of you that manage to be so productive and make such beautiful things! Maybe one of these days I’ll start to catch up! 🙂