Sunday, July 31, 2011

Photos from A Torchon Home Dressmaking Course

I have this lovely old dress-making book, completely going to waste in a box in my sewing room, so I've listed it in my etsy shop. But first, I thought I'd share some lovely pictures and excerpts:

Oh, for the days where we could dress like that again... you know, minus the corset.

Adventures in Sewing... Part 3

Today fro your reading pleasure, I have another Adventures in Sewing article from McCall's Style News from September 1947!

This one is all about making pattern markings on your fabric, and the many different ways of doing it. I showed this article once before, but I think it's valid to what I wanted to mention about dart making.

Although the illustration has a creepy girl with her head backwards on her body, the article has some great ideas. Here's a blow up of the text:

Have you ever tried chalking your markings before? I have a little Dritz chalk wheel that I find indispensable on dark fabric.

This is great, but for making darts, I use pins as that article suggested. First I mark the two outer legs of the darts with pins, and then I stick a pin through the bottom so it sticks out of the top of my pattern piece at the point of the dart.

Remove the pattern paper and you have this:

I then flip it over so it looks like this:

And then fold it so that the pins are the outside edge:

And pin it, with the pins facing the wide end of the dart, so that I can sew, tapering to a point for a smoother dart.

What's your favorite method of marking your fabric?

Update: Here's a really great video from Threads on making a very nice looking dart:

Friday, July 29, 2011

What I've been up to...

I realize that it's been about 2 months since I've actually posted about something I've sewed. Mostly that's because I spent nearly a month in the States visiting friends and family, and the last 3 weeks have been completely devoted to a custom project with a deadline for a friend. (More on that later.)

The last few two days I've been taking it extremely easy, and I've discovered what a difference following the doc's orders to rest has made on my broken rib (long, embarrassing story which I'm keeping to myself). Of course, by taking it easy, I mean sitting at the computer digitizing a new vintage pattern, and then sewing it myself to make sure I got it right.

So, without much further ado, what I've been working on, Advance 3975:

I have been working on turning the bikini bra top and shorts into a pdf, and sewing it myself.

So far I have the bra top done and I'm pretty happy, having taken it in quite a bit from the original 38" size to fit my nearly non-existent 34" bust.

I know I look rather flat in this picture, but let's face it, nothin's ever gonna make me look busty unless it's attached to a scalpel and a medical degree.

What I did different from the pattern? I just cut two extra strap pieces from my contrasting red cotton (which I'm using to make the matching shorts) and used them to edge the top and bottom before threading the strap through the center.

The pdf for the bra top and shorts can be found in my etsy shop. Up next, I'll be showing pictures of the shorts, if I can ever manage to get the zipper in straight.
Also, I'm curious, readers. Have you ever used a pdf printable pattern before? If so what did you like about it? And if you could have me make a pdf of a pattern, what pattern would it be and why?

Also, check out this great vintage pattern being given away at My Happy Sewing Place!

Friday, July 22, 2011

We have a winner... a little late...

Um, was I supposed to announce the winner of the last giveaway on Monday? MONDAY? It's Friday for crying out loud!
Wanna know what happened? I broke a rib. Yeah, fun. So in the hubbub of doctor visits, pharmacy trips, x-rays, and allergic reactions to pain pills, I kind of forgot. So apparently the only pain pill that I'm not allergic to (aside from the not really effective over the counter stuff) is vicodin. They don't carry that here in Norway because, get this, "it can cause feelings of euphoria." Freakin' DUH! If it helps the pain, why grudge a poor invalid their happy side effects?
So the last week or so has been basically me roughing it through the day on ibuprofin while I work to finish up my custom sewing project for a friend, and when my sewing hours are over and I can take it no more, curling up in a Southern Comfort induced stupor till bedtime.

So, finally, now that I've remembered (so sorry) here is the winner of the hat and bag pattern giveaway as drawn by's number generator.

And the winner is lucky #13, Elisabeth! (I'll be emailing you, dear) winner of a copy of my new hat and bag pattern. Congrats!

If you didn't win, you can find the pattern in my etsy shop.
Happy weekend, and I'm back to my sewing machine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Best feeling EVER...

Yesterday the lovely and talented Casey of Casey's Elegant Musings posted about my beach bra pattern!

She created her own clever twist on the pattern that has me itching to make another one and try her idea.

Photo by Casey

Instead of making the back panel button up, she drafted her own back panel and ruched it to make it a more comfortable, slip on version.
You can see all of her lovely photos and clever design work at her blog.

Seeing Casey's version has lit a fire under me to finally create a post featuring everyone's pictures of their own beach bra pattern. I know so many of you have gotten the pattern from my etsy shop and made your own version.
I would love to see your photos, and with your permission, post them on the blog. I love the idea of seeing 30 or so different versions of the same patterns, it's a great way to see other people's style through their fabric choice, accessorizing, and alterations.
So if you've made the pattern, or you would like to, send your photos to me at
(you can crop your head out, or send them anonymously if you're shy.)

And don't forget to enter the giveaway for the free hat and purse pattern. I draw the winner on Monday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Pattern and a Giveaway!

So I know that pictures of my sewing projects have been few and far between in the last few months of blogging. Some of that is due to a months' vacation back in the US, and some is due to trying to figure out my new camera, and the rest of the blame goes to the fact that I've been too busy working on pattern pdf's to get pictures taken, or anything sewn, for that matter.

I just finished turning another of my vintage patterns into a pdf for download in my shop and I'm excited, cause it's a hat and purse! Gotta love accessories, right? This one came from a great 1940's catalog and it's just gorgeous!

It gives tips for coordinating different fabrics to make matching hats and bags, as well as how to embellish with bows, feathers, etc to make several different versions of the same hat.

Which leads me to the giveaway part. Would you like to win a copy of this pattern? Yeeeeeeeeees? Good. All you have to do is...
1. Become a follower if you're not already. You can leave a comment telling me that you follow and it will count as an entry.
2. If you like A Few Threads Loose on Facebook you get another entry.
It's that easy.  I'll pick a winner by random number generator and announce the winner on Monday the 18th. Good luck!

What to put in a friensdhip box

Have you ever made a friendship box? I haven't. But I have put together my share of care packages for friends abroad, deployed, or stationed overseas and this ad in Butterick Fashion News from August 1947 caught my eye.

Here is the add blown up a bit for better viewing.

This sounds nice since it's for children, but if I wanted someone to send me a friendship box, it would be full of sewing patterns, cheeseburgers, and booze. 

My question to you is, what's the best thing you ever got in care package?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Adventures in Sewing... Part 2

Today for your sewing educational pleasure, here's another Adventures in Sewing by Marian Corey. This one was featured in McCall's Style News of July 1953.

He're a close-up of the text in case you're as blind as I am!

This is super helpful if you're a larger bust size than your original pattern. In my case, I'm often a size or two smaller but luckily you can employ the exact same method for taking your pattern in at the bust too!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Let me tell you about someone who made my day...

A few months ago I won a lovely Hollywood 1633 wrap front blouse pattern on ebay. It was advertised as complete so I payed quite a bit to get my little hands on it, only to find it missing a piece when I got it. Grrrrrrrr. I ranted about it here on A Few Threads loose and soon put the pattern on the back burner until I could work up the nerve to try drafting a replacement piece for the pattern.

So needless to say, I was pleased beyond belief when the lovely Ally of SloCrafty on etsy sent me a note asking me for my address so she could send me a copy of the missing piece from her own pattern.
Ally's Hollywood 1633 can be found in her shop here.
Ally and many of my lovely readers are wonderful reminders that good Samaritans and generally awesome people are still out there, being nice just because they can.
I love you guys.
So to thank Ally for saving this pattern from my "wish I could but probably wont ever get to" pile, I'm going to shamelessly promote her shop. Many of her patterns were already in my favorites, because she has some really great ones.
Like this gorgeous keyhole neckline 1940's dress pattern:
Or there's the charming teen halter dress pattern, which I already have a copy of and highly recommend.
And last but certainly not least this halter dress and bolero pattern that screams "take me to the beach!"

So go check out the pattern eye candy at SloCrafty and thanks again, Ally, for making my day!