Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sewing Tips for New Sewers - It's National Sewing Month!

September is National Sewing Month! Can't sew, you say?

It can be disheartening to be a beginner at anything. Your eyes and taste are far above your skill set. You want that killer bombshell cocktail dress. For beginners, many patterns are too difficult. Recognize that your ability is limited but will improve.

Nowadays we have the internet where many blogs, tutorials and sew-alongs are available.  Pattern companies also offer help - the last time I was at a pattern store, I noticed the Simplicity help sign. To start with, pick a simple project, such as a pillow. Back when girls had to take Home Ec, their project was an apron. Both are easy to make and you don't need a pattern.

Make it your goal to learn at least one new skill with your projects. If your pillow seams are not straight, practice again.  Each completed project will give you confidence to add a new skill. It can be discouraging at first. If you find yourself in over your head, don't give up. The old adage "practice makes perfect" truly does apply. You need to be realistic and accept some failures.

Use those failures as a stepping stone to your goal - that bombshell dress! Until you reach that level, select "Easy-to-Sew" patterns. Bear in mind that many, if not most, vintage patterns assumed our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew how to sew and to sew well. Beginning about 1950 - 1960, companies began to include more simplified instructions with more diagrams. Also, a great many vintage patterns are made of pre-cut, plain tissue with letters or piece names punched into each piece. This can be overwhelming to new sewer. Add this goal to your list.

I overhead an excellent tip at an estate sale recently. A mother and her teenage daughter were browsing the sewing items and the mom reached for a large bag of sewing notions. She turned to her daughter, who had an armload of fabric, and told her that she should use some of the zippers and oddly cut pieces of fabric as practice. What a thrifty idea - bags of sewing notions and fabric (usually not vintage) are easy to find at sales as well as at thrift stores and are generally low priced.

Fabric panels are often easy to sew. At back to school time, many early childhood teachers buy school-themed fabric and make chair covers for their students. These covers are rectangles and again, require no pattern. Seasonal panels are also available. Make a door decoration, wall hanging, banner or holiday pillow. As your skill improves, graduate to other panels. Christmas panels are already out at Hobby Lobby. Most of these contain easy to follow directions.

By taking incremental steps, you can teach yourself to sew. Think of it as going to school - you build on prior knowledge as you pass through the grades. Remember to use the vast resources of the internet to help you if you have no seamstress to call upon.

The Pattern Patter Team on offers a wide variety of patterns for beginners to experienced sewers.

Here is a small sampling of the many Easy-to-Sew patterns offered by our Professional Pattern Sellers. All of the patterns we offer have been checked for completeness so you may shop with confidence.

To see more information about these patterns, please click on the shop name below the collage.

ROW #1 ---

ROW #2 ---

ROW # 3  ---
HeathersSewingStoreWitsEndDesigns; VogueVixens; sandritocat

ROW # 4 ---

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ladies, Kindly Remove Your Hats

It's been decades since movie theaters asked ladies to remove their hats. Hats are lovely and add a special touch to an ensemble.

Hats have been worn since the time of the ancient Egyptians. For hundreds of years, a modest woman would cover her head. However, over the decades, the wearing of hats has diminished. There are still many religious groups whose female members wear head coverings. The come-as-you-are to church philosophy is not embraced by all and ladies continue to wear "church clothes" which includes a hat. Members of royalty also wear hats in public. Hats are seemingly mandatory at horse races such as the Kentucky Derby and Steeplechase.

Princess Diana's turban from the 1980s.

Some of the most extravagant hats are from the Edwardian era. Women's hats became a statement of wealth and influence in the highly structured society of that time. Fortunes were paid for exotic dyed feathered hats. For a time entire stuffed birds were used to adorn hats.

Macy's ad, 1909

                                                        ca. 1910 photos

The Roaring Twenties arrived and with it short hair. Ladies needed a hat which would cover their head and look well with a bobbed cut.

Catalog ads for 1920s hats.

By the 1930s and 1940s, hats had moved on from the cloche and various styles flourished.
Spring 1942: Lilly Dache hat is on the left; Hattie Carnegie hat is on the right.

Schiaparelli hats, ca. 1940s

John Frederics Silk & Straw

Chanel, 1930

Lilly Dache Headpieces

Lilly Dache
Stetsons for her, ca. 1940s.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, hats became even more diverse. Wide brims and pillboxes
 were popular.  Smaller hats with netting continued to be worn.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Dior, 1954


The 1960s!


Here are some examples of avant garde head-wear     

Alexander McQueen
Armani, 2014

Issey Miyake


The Pattern Patter team offers a wide variety of hat patterns for children and adults. Here is just a small sampling. Visit our team members' shops to see more lovely hat patterns, ranging from vintage to modern to retro.  The shop names are underneath the collages - just click on the name for more information about a specific hat pattern.

In addition, the Pattern Patter Team has a number of boards on Pinterest. Please follow us - members add patterns  and pictures daily. 

Row #1 --- kinseysue;  sandritocat;  TabbysVintageShop
Row #2 --- PurplePlaidPenguin;  ThePatternSourceCherryCorners

Here's a handy reference chart of hat styles.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sewing Patterns Through The Decades: 1920s Style

Hey all!!

It's been a while, I know!  You ever have one of those days?  Or one of those weeks?  Or .. one of those months?

Yeah, we all do.  That's neither here nor there though, let's get on with a blog entry!

I thought it might be fun to roll through the decades and see what kind of fun patterns our Pattern Patter Team members have available from every decade.  Won't that be interesting?

I think so.  Let's get going!
In the 1920s the sewing pattern industry was really getting going.  Patterns had been available for decades before, but new trends in fashion plus new innovations in sewing patterns made it easier than ever to sew for yourself.  You really could have the height of Paris fashion for a much cheaper cost. I'm just speculating here but since more ladies were working in offices and such they may have had more money to spend on things like clothes.

Unbranded Pattern #302

The 1920s are usually considered pretty glamorous (not to mention a total and absolute change from almost everything that ever came before!)  However, this sedate little number shows that style could be simple too.  This unbranded pattern is available from Retroactive Future and is on sale!

Butterick 1771 &  Ladies Home Journal 5250

These two patterns from Kinsey Sue are somewhat similar, with a shoulder drape.  However, the Butterick pattern is slightly more complicated with it's bias cut and asymmetrical neckline which mirrors the asymmetrical flounce at the bottom.

Butterick 1227, 1214

A new addition to my personal collection, this 1920s Butterick advertising sign features lively prints and delicate pleating.  The nautical collar on 1214 is an interesting touch.  Though the lines are straight the amount of ruffles and bows adds femininity.

Australian Home Journal 8376

Though the lines of the 20s seem simple at first glance, look at the complicated lines of this pattern from Sew As It Was Patterns.  Again with a somewhat nautical collar, but the lines down the front are incredibly interesting!  You don't usually see patterns this complicated these days.  This one is from Australian Home Journal so as you can see, this up-to-date fashion was a worldwide phenomenon. :)

Butterick 6365

After a long night of dancing, why not slip into this beautiful robe from Vintage Needle Finds?  Even though it's a robe, it still suggests the straight lines of the late 20s by suggesting you tie it slightly below the natural waist.

From Butterick's Spring 1926 catalog and my personal collection comes this selection of dresses, ranging from very simple to quite complicated.  A hat was still a must as you can see!

Costume parties were big business in the 1920s, with costumes made both of fabric and crepe paper. This Ladies Home Journal catalog from my personal collection features masquerade costumes only, for men, women, and children.  All the major pattern companies had their own masquerade catalogs, including Vogue and Weldon's.

McCall 2833

Pierrot-style clowns were always a favorite... an easy to make costume that could be worn by anyone. This one is in stock at Rebecca's Vintage Salon.

Pictorial Review 1927

These complicated gowns from my personal collection feature very interesting layers and colors.

Pictorial Review 1927

Elegant looks for the bride and her attendants from Pictorial Review and my personal collection.

Pictorial Review 1927

Wow!  Look at the complicated lines on this gown!  I wouldn't want to sew it.  Funny enough, despite the straight lines in the illustration, this is listed as for "the mature figure" with "larger hips."  Haha, I'm not sure how large hips would ever look like that illustration.  (From my personal collection.)

Pictorial Review 1927

How lovely it must have been to wear these simple and comfortable underthings after so many years of being corseted and covered up.  Though many women did wear bust minimizers which squeezed them in for that boyish look.  Couldn't have been comfortable! (From my personal collection.)

Advance 1042

Little girls were often clothed in very short little dresses with a smock-like cut.  Seen here in a very early Advance pattern from The Granny Squared.  Advance patterns from this era seem to be extremely scarce.

Butterick 4433

This bed coat, box coat, or vest is perfect for lounging in the morning.  From Clutterina's Shop.

Butterick 6399

If working with a vintage unprinted pattern is too difficult, or an original 1920s pattern is too pricey, why not try this lovely repro gown from Cloe's Closet?

Leaflet from SoFro Fabrics / House of Fabrics

Or how about this cute DIY leaflet to make your own fringe-covered flapper dress from Denisecraft?

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll through patterns of the 1920s.