Stop what you’re doing and look at this new Vintage Vogue pattern

WOULD. YOU. JUST. LOOK. AT. THIS. GODDAMN. PATTERN.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo: Vogue Patterns

I think I may be in love. Is it possible to get married to a sewing pattern? If so, you can call me Mrs V9127 from now on.

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Photo: Vogue Patterns

I’ve felt the big four are a little hit and miss lately, so it was an absolute joy to see this pop up in my Twitter timeline today. Naturally, the appropriate freakout commenced. Would you just LOOK at that collar? And how about those scalloped pockets?

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Photo: Vogue Patterns

The triangular stitched details on the points are a delightful touch, though I have no idea how you’d recreate that without some fancy-pants embroidery machine. And I have to say, Vogue has just nailed the fabric choice here. Looks like a crepe to me, and the colour is just exquisite. Those buttonholes could do with being bound, but that’s me splitting hairs.

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Photo: Vogue Patterns

And can we talk about the back? The belt buckle, the heart-shaped lines, what look like elbow darts but I genuinely have no idea… sigh. That’s it, I’m in love.

Photo: Vogue Patterns

Photo: Vogue Patterns

Vogue rates it as an “average” pattern in terms of difficulty, so definitely not one for beginners. I do wonder if I’ll struggle with it, given my slapdash nature. This is a pattern which calls for the most precise execution.

I see a short-sleeved version in an autumnal purple, and I’d definitely need to take up the hem a tad. Honestly, I would wear this to work. They’re used to me coming in looking like an extra from Call the Midwife anyway.

We’re truly being a spoilt for new pattern releases, by the way. As well as the rest of Vogue’s Autumn releases (Lladybird has a great run down of them, good and bad) both Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons and Tasia of Sewaholic have released two new patterns each. Then there’s Sew Over It’s vintage shirt dress, which I’ve already bought some fabric for. I’ve got a feeling this summer is going to be a busy one for sewing…

 

 

Three useful sewing links for beginners

It’s easier than you think to teach yourself to sew, especially with a few handy resources at your fingertips.

Like I said in my previous post, I taught myself how to sew through various tools available online. While there are so many sewing courses you can take or sewing books you can buy, if you’re a student like me, then cost can sometimes be a barrier. Getting to grips with a needle and thread needn’t be as stressful as your textiles class in school!

So if perhaps you’re thinking of taking up a Seamless style challenge, here are some sites to get you started:

BurdaStyle

burdastyle screenshot

BurdaStyle is like Facebook for sewing boffins. An endless source of inspiration and talent, the members of BurdaStyle have plenty of projects and tips to share. There are also patterns, both free and at affordable prices, available to download. You print them off and then stick the pages together, et voila! That bit might be a pain, but who’s complaining when the pattern is free?

Pattern Review

pattern review front page

This is a handy resource for those who enjoy sewing from commercial patterns. One of the best parts of sewing your own garments is having complete control over the fabric and fit of your clothes, but what use is this if your pattern looks nothing like the image on the envelope? Before you cut into that beautiful metre of fabric you’ve been hoarding, search for your pattern on Pattern Review. Users post comprehensive reviews of sewing patterns used for their projects detailing everything from how easy the instructions were to follow

Craftster

Craftster screenshot

Craftster is the kind of forum for those of you who aren’t quite satisfied by sewing alone. I’ve yet to venture into the world of knitting or jewellery making, but you name the craft and there’ll be someone talking about it of Craftster. It’s a great resource for those times you’ve hit a bit of a brick wall. Not sure why your thread keeps tangling up? Someone on the forum has probably had the same problem. Head to the Sewing in General board to get discussing your projects, but do take a look around the rest of the site as well.

So what are you waiting for? Get stitching and maybe you’ll end up saying bye bye to the high street too!

Got any sewing resources of your own? Comment away!

Challenge Accepted.

pincushion

Three years ago, I saved my sewing machine from the attic and taught myself how to thread a machine and wind a bobbin via the wonders of the Internet. Since then, I’ve used the bustling online sewing community to navigate the ins and outs of home sewing.

So I like to think I’m a dab hand with the sewing machine, even if sometimes I can’t quite manage to sew in a straight line. Let’s not even get started on the evils of buttonholes.

You’d be forgiven for thinking my mad skillz with a needle and thread (but not buttonholes) mean my wardrobe is full to the brim of self-stitched clothing. In actuality, my self-made items take up only a tiny part of my drawers. I’d estimate I made or refashioned about 5% of my wardrobe.

There are plenty of excuses I could give for this, but it’s a pretty poor statistic for someone who goes on about stitching as much as I do. Lately I’ve fallen into a sewing rut and back into my lazy clothing habits, and our generation is pretty lazy when it comes to clothing. “Make do and mend” was the motto during the second world war but nowadays we’ll settle for something which will fall apart in a matter of months if it’s colourful and cheap enough. Fast fashion reigns supreme on the high street and in our wardrobes, and mine is no exception.

Yet across the blogosphere there are plenty examples of people who have put down the shopping bags and picked up their needle and thread instead. Take Mena Trott of The Sew Weekly. In 2010 she took on the hefty challenge of filling her wardrobe solely with clothes she had sewn herself. A year on, she’s encouraging a whole communityof sewers to do the same.

Then there’s Zoe of So, Zo…, a seamstress very much concerned with sustainable fashion. You name the garment, she’s probably made it. We’re talking coats, dresses, jogging tops and even pants. In March, May and September she challenges her readers to join her in a month of wearing nothing but self made garments.

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In more productive sewing days...

As for me? For the past few months I’ve been in somewhat of a sewing rut, to the point where I’m at the risk of edging out the me-made side of my wardrobe completely. This will not do!

So I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge.With the Interwebs as my witness, I plan to spend the duration of my postgraduate diploma at Cardiff, which ends in July 2012, sewing or refashioning all of my clothes. Under no circumstances am I allowed to purchase ready-made garments from any shops unless they are bonafide vintage or second-hand.

This blog will serve as evidence I’m keeping up with my pledge meaning you can all tell me off if I end up slacking. If I fail miserably, then you’re all entitled to point, laugh and tease until you’re red in the faces.

So what can you expect here at Seamless? I want to explore the avenues outside of mass made clothing, whether that’s through sewing, knitting, trawling through charity shops, gawking at vintage wares or using good old eBay. Wish me luck!

D.I.Y – Draft It Yourself

Drafting my own pencil skirt began with the best of intentions. After noticing a few minor fit issues with the Wannabe Hack skirt, I thought it would be a good idea to have a crack at drafting my own, and I had just the book to hand.

Well, so I thought. I hadn’t bought “Patternmaking in Fashion Step by Step” due to any glowing recommendations of its patternmaking tips, rather, I’d bought it because it was only a fiver in Urban Outfitters. Also it’s in English, French and German. Lucia Mors de Castro had me at Schnittmuster. 

Now, patternmaking involves a certain degree of maths. You heard me. MATHS. Not my favourite subject at school, but this is where the lovely invention of calculators comes in. Calculators are a godsend for the lazy seamstress wanting to draft their own patterns. Number crunching is just not my forte unfortunately.

I was getting along just fine until I stumbled across a bit of a problem. To explain the process, a set of sample measurements are used, which were nowhere near mine. The difference between my hips and my waist is not that big, meaning I’m markedly different from de Castro’s sample. I hit a bit of a brick wall when figuring out the darts, so I turned to Google for help.

Which really, should have been my first option. When I taught myself how to sew, I didn’t do so from books, I did it by using the vast wealth of free lessons and tutorials available from the sewing community online. That’s not to say sewing books are worthless; I love books and own several about sewing, but it’s not hard to find a decent tutorial online. I found that and more on House of Marmalade, which hosts a fantastic tutorial on drafting your own skirt block and pencil skirt. Success! I started over on some fresh brown paper and got back to work.

It may be from the school of wonky skirt blocks, but I’m quite proud of my first efforts in pattern drafting. The real proof, however, will be in the pudding; I’m currently in the process of whipping up my first self-drafted pencil skirt. Wish me luck! Here’s hoping it fits…

The joy of vintage patterns

Until now, I’ve always purchased my vintage patterns online. Sewing patterns are not items commonly found in Cardiff’s charity shops, which normally host scores of rejected items from Primark instead. The vintage and retro shops I have previously frequented in the city centre don’t tend to extend their stock to the kind of goodies those vintage-savvy seamstresses amongst us would be searching for. Yet I recently came across a beauty stocked to the brim with all kinds of vintage goodies, sewing patterns included, tucked away in one of Cardiff’s old arcades, renowned for housing unique shops and boutiques.

The arcades have always been, for me, part of Cardiff’s charm, and I’m not the only one who thought so. Photographer and journalist Amy Davies took up a project to document Cardiff’s arcades with the Cardiff Arcades Project, and the photographs are just beautiful! The shop which caught my eye, A Vintage Affair, has been documented through photograph in a post here.

Understandably, I spent about an hour being distracted by A Vintage Affair’s clothing, jewellery and accessories dotted around the shop. Popping into vintage and second hand shops normally scares me a little bit, possibly because of experiences had in various second hand shops in Germany, which were always so small I felt my every move was being scrutinised! Luckily this wasn’t the case here, and when I did speak to some of those working in the shop, I found they were lovely and approachable anyway! My favourite kind of shop.

Eventually, I came across the vintage patterns in the corner of the shop, kept in boxes overflowing with not only patterns, but also sewing and knitting magazines. There’s something quite unique about rifling through (sometimes) decade old patterns by hand. While I’ll always love the Internet for leading me to discover some beautiful vintage patterns in the past, you can’t quite beat actually touching the wrinkled, often ripped, packaging, surrounded by that musky smell of patterns pre-loved. This particular shop had stacks and stacks of vintage fabric, a sorely tempting prospect, but I thought better of it considering the extensive stash I’ve built up at home!

I did, however, come home with three well-worn patterns, all of them shift dresses, although each one comes with a little twist! The tucked bodice detail on the Style 1804 panel shift dress pattern was very tempting. I doubt I’ll go for the long sleeves – with the puff sleeves and all, I can’t see it being a little much overall. The vintage Butterick 4029 sports some varied neckline choices on a simple shift dress, while the collar on my other Style number 1937 is to die for.

Thanks to the Vintage Patterns wiki, I found out Butterick 4029 is a pattern dating from the 1960s, and one a fellow blogger has already whipped up to great effect, using the pointed collar design I’ve been quietly coveting. Kitty stayed faithful to the design portrayed on the pattern envelope,

While my two Style patterns were absent from the list, the back of 1937 tells me it’s also a ‘60s pattern (1967 to be exact), and I’m assuming the same of 1804, which is missing dates. If anyone has any idea of when this pattern was made, I’d be grateful, as I’m neither a historian or a vintage pattern expert! The only real clue I have is the front of the pattern states it was designed by a ‘Vanda Harvey’, and a quick google brought up an artist of the same name who doesn’t seem to have contributed to the world of sewing patterns.

I have a few other things to get through before I get cracking on these patterns. Which do you think I should go for first?