Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sew Expensive...McCall... something-or-other.

Boy it has been too long since my last blog post! I'm sorry about that. I've been swamped with preparations for our move from Norway to California (it never seems to end), work, and keeping the house perfectly spotless for the realtor to show off.

But today I have a few minutes so I thought I'd treat myself to a Sew Expensive post.
Today's pattern is McCall... it's a mystery!

This lovely beauty sold last month on Ebay but for the life of me, I couldn't find its pattern number in the photos. But that doesn't stop if from being utterly delicious.

This anonymous beauty sold for an amazing $180.49!
(Update! We now know it is McCall 3894.  --Thanks, Ginny!)

Believe it or not, in the realm of beautiful vintage couture patterns, that's actually reasonable. I've seen patterns like this go for up to $300.
This one is by designer James Galanos. His name might not ring out like Givenchy or Dior, but the man has style (he even dressed American First Lady Nancy Reagan) and is now an amazing 88 years old (well done, sir!)

James Galanos, image courtesy of
Galanos contributed a few different designs to pattern companies like McCall and Vogue over the years but another one that stands out in my mind is McCall 4046.

McCall's 4046 - Image courtesy of Sandritocat Vintage Patterns
Just lovely, isn't it? Though where I would wear it if I made one, Santa only knows.
I don't know that I could justify almost $200 for a dress pattern that I have nowhere to wear, but I think I could manage for a neglige pattern that I could make and wear every day. I have the great privilege of working from home now, so I have retired my lovely office apparel and spend my money instead on things like silk pajamas that I can wear all day in my studio. It makes for a very luxurious work day, let me tell you!

Not to mention, you all know that I would plunk down the entirety of my pattern savings to get my hands on another Simplicity S-Series pattern.

Oh, and in other news, the movers come to pack up our things in a few days, including my pattern collection and all things Mrs. Depew Vintage related, so until then, you can use coupon code PACKITUP for $5 off of a $20 or more purchase at my Etsy shop.

But back again to the topic of pattern savings, do you have one? Or do you have a sewing budget? I have a small amount squirreled away for patterns at all times so that when that rare pattern I've been after for years comes up for air, lack of funds doesn't get in my way.

Oh, and also, now that I'm easily distracted and am thinking about squirrels, here's one to brighten your day.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gatsby Style - A Compendium of 1920's Digital Patterns

With the movie remake the Great Gatsby about to hit theaters, the 1920's are making a bit of a comeback (again). The 1920's are a particular favorite of mine and if I wasn't so swamped with the details that always complicate an overseas move, I'd absolutely be participating in Miss Crayola Creepy's Gatsby Sewing Challenge.

For those of you who are participating, or for those of you who just love the comfortable 'swish' of a 1920's dress, or the easy simplicity of the seams and styles, here is a collection of digital patterns by Mrs. Depew Vintage two whole years in the making.

1920's falpper tunic dress.

1920's Tunic Blouse #3024

The straight line tunic is my favorite for both modern and vintage wear. It will go both ways nicely, it all depends on the accessories!

1920's flapper one piece lace dress.

1920's One Piece Lace Panel Dress #3022

1920's flapper straight line dress pattern.

1920's Straight Line Dress Pattern #3001

1920's flapper straight line dress pattern.

1920's Tiered One Piece Dress #3021

1920's flapper shirred one piece dress pattern.

 1925 Shirred One Piece Dress #3019

1920's flapper basque dress pattern.

1920's Basque Dress E-book # 3008

1920's flapper draped evening dress pattern.

1920's Draped Gown # 3010

1920's flapper draped dress pattern.

1928 Magic Frock # 3013

Well, that covers dresses, but what about lingerie to wear underneath those pretty, diaphanous frocks?
Don't worry, ma cherie, I have that covered too!
These are my favorite styles from the 1920's. Easy to sew is one thing, but these lingerie patterns are a sure-fire formula for a comfortable piece you won't ever want to take off.

1920's flapper slip and petticoat sewing pattern.

1920's Slip and Petticoat # 3017

1920's flapper slip and teddy sewing pattern.

1920's Lingerie Set # 3003

1920's flapper slip and teddy sewing pattern.

Step-in Teddies 1926 Pattern # 1030

And of course, the perfect 1920's accessory is the right hat. Be it loose fitting toque or fitted cloche, I have a couple of each:

1920's flapper hat cloche sewing pattern.

1920's Flexible Silk Hats Pattern # 3025

1920's flapper hat cloche sewing pattern.

1920's Flexible Hat Pattern #3020

1920's flapper hat cloche sewing pattern.

1920's Large Brim Hat # 3018

1920's flapper hat cloche sewing pattern.

1920's Flexible Beret # 3012

1920's flapper hat cloche sewing pattern.

1920's Draped Crown Hat # 3011

1920's flapper hat cloche sewing pattern.

1920's Cloche # 1020

Don't want to put together a complete 1920's replica outfit? I like to wear my favorite cloche with a tank top, jeans and ballet flats, or the perfect 1920's straight line dress with a bit shorter hem and stiletto heals for an evening look.

How about you?  What's your favorite flapper style piece?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

French Knickers Sew-Along... Everything in one place.

The time has come to wrap up my knickers sewing! I've only got 3 weeks until our things get packed up to be shipped back overseas and while that may seem like a lot of time, for an overseas move, it's just a moment.
Below I have summed up a list of the sew-along posts so that if you try the sew-along later (there's never any expiration date, I'm always here to answer your questions!) you have everything in one place.
  1. Getting started.
  2. Choosing your fabric. (With tips for stretch fabrics.)
  3. Where do I buy my fabric?
  4. Your first seams.
  5. Ribbon trimming the leg openings.
  6. Adding elastic to the waist.
  7. Adding "Le Crotch" insert.
  8. Trimming the legs with lace.
  9. Embroidered Touches
  • For those of you who have asked about sewing the knickers with a drawstring... keep in mind that they will be a bit bulky for undies after that, but that they would make great sleep shorts. To make these with a drawstring, simply add a 1" allowance to the top of the waist before cutting it out. Sew two small buttonholes in the center front, 1" apart on either side of the seam. Then sew the extra inch allowance into a casing and stitch down. Thread your ribbon or tie string through and voila!
  • To add a lace inset, check out this older tutorial for the Pauline Sew-Along.
  • For adding the perfect bow, check out this great tutorial by Sarah from Ohhh Lulu.
French knickers sewing seams.
A Map to your Knickers!
 And of course, here are some of my finished knickers!

French Knickers in Tencil Knit Jersey
French Knickers in tencil knit jersey.
French Knickers in silk twill with ribbon trimmed legs.
French Knickers in silk twill with ribbon trimmed legs.
French Knickers in lace
French Knickers with lace trim.
How about you? For those of you who have had the time, how have your knickers turned out? What fabrics and trimmings have you used? Tried any neat variations I haven't mentioned here?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

French Knickers Sew-Along... Embroidered Touches

Hello lovely readers. Today I want to chat a bit about finishing touches on your French Knickers... or any lingerie for that matter. Many of you know that I'm constantly inspired by my collection of vintage lingerie and lingerie patterns. My biggest source of inspiration is lingerie from the 1920's. I feel that the handwork details, fabrics used, and styles are all easily accessible to the modern seamstress.

vintage bra and panties sewing pattern from the 1920's

There are no scary under-wires, boning, and not too many elastics to worry about. The styles are so simple to sew that more time and attention can be payed to tiny details like lace applique and embroidery.

vintage 1920's embroidered camisole, lingerie embroidery
1920's Lingerie Top Via Etsy shop The Paraders.

My goal in creating my own lingerie has always been to reach a point where I can skillfully make some beautiful, new or vintage-inspired pieces of lingerie for my own enjoyment using techniques that I've learned from my exploration of vintage pieces.

Here are just a few of the amazing pieces that inspire me to keep trying:

vintage 1920's embroidered camisole, lingerie embroidery
Vintage Camisole Via Etsy shop Rococo Vintage.
Vintage 1950's embroidered silk nightgown, lingerie embroidery
1950's Nightgown from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Sigh... some day I'll be that good. Then I'll make something like the above and be too chicken to wear it in case I hurt it.

Vintage lace and embroidered tap pants from the 1920's
Tap panties from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I especially love the use of embroidering one's initials or name into beautiful handmade lingerie. So I decided to sign my work. I set to work in Photoshop with a basic fleur de lis, played around with size and fonts, and came up with a basic template that I could trace onto my fabric and embroider.

Embroidery transfer, how to

I used some transfer paper scraps (look for them at your local thrift shop, so handy!) over a scrap of satin, with my printed test image over that, and traced over it all with a pen.

Pardon the ratty fabric scrap and the horrible photo... I still have no lights in my studio!
 It's definitely a good idea to do a practice version first on the same fabric as your lingerie piece... my practice run was o.k., but I found that the blue silk embroidery thread I was using was just way too thick for my fabric. (I'm still learning! If you'd like to bombard me with embroidery tips, I'll take them gladly!)

Not too great, but it could have been worse :)
 I switched threads and with a bit more care this time, embroidered the same design (minus the center French knot) onto my lace and satin knickers from our last post. It came out much better!

Fleur de lis embroidered monogram, lingerie embroidery

I used a simple back stitch to embroider the whole design. I'm no pro so I won't preach at you about embroidery technique, but here is a great post at Sublime Stitching that shows you this super easy stitch.

Fleur de lis embroidered monogram, lingerie embroidery

And voila! This was really quite easy for a novice embroiderer myself so I strongly encourage you to try it for yourself! Embroidery is so soothing!

Do you plan on adding any other little touches to your French Knickers or other hand-made lingerie? Or do you have a favorite piece of clothing with a tiny, beautiful little embellishment that makes it just that much more dear?