Sneak Peek

I was so inspired by Handmade Jane's super awesome pants that I wanted to make something in a blue knit and sailor-y. So, I brought out good old Simplicity 1924 from 1947.

The very best part about this dress what that once I had everything assembled I took a good long look at it and thought, "I don't need a zipper!". It's totally pullover!. I sewed up the side, added a belt and loved it! It's my new go-to pattern for a completely comfy yet vintage classic outfit. I hemmed it to the thinnest part of my knee and finished the belt with 2 small covered buttons (my new obsession). Once my hubby gets home I'll have him take some pics. TTFN

Loving my pattern collection

If I had one piece of advice to aspiring costume makers, it would be BUY PATTERNS!!  Doesn't matter if you think you will use it anytime soon or not.  If you like it and can afford it buy it.  My compulsion to buy patterns is really working in my favor right now.  I am a self taught seamstress and have had no formal sewing, draping or pattern making lessons.  This being the case I depend on my patterns. This has allowed me to piece things together, alter existing patterns and just some just for their general shape.

This is what I have been doing the last couple of days.  I found my perfect Dicken's fair inspiration dress.

I am in love this dress.  It is an acutal 1860 gown and being such, there is no specific pattern for this dress.  So, this is where my pattern collection comes in to play.  I am using 2 different patterns to piece together and create this dress.

I am using the jacket of this pattern, which i used for my Dicken's dress two years ago. ( I just realized I never posted that dress, guess I will have to soon!)  I will also be using the skirt for the over skirt section.  I like how this skirt isn't very gathered and will fall nice in front.  The back will be more gathered than the front to give the right shape.

Burda 7880

I will be using the skirt from this pattern for the under skirt the from will be pleated (not looking forward to this!)
Butterick 4954
I am currently working on the sketches for all the modifications I will be making to the patterns and the details of what need to be done.  Keep an eye out!

Read the original article at
To read what else I have going on visit

summer lovin' in advance 8280, mccall 3489 and mccall 5314

version the first: cut on a whim on memorial day 2010. i used several new-to-me techniques: i block-fused the facings, i pick-stitched the zipper, and i attempted pleats. as i may have mentioned, i do often have issues with pleats, and i accidentally pleated them inside out. inside out was actually the best turnout, and it took me 5 tries just to get that far, so i kept it. to work within the constraints of a shorter-than-needed piece of fabric, i cut everything on the cross grain, changed the CF fold into a CF seam, changed the CB fold into a CB seam, and shortened the skirt by more than 9". because the skirt was, by now, quite short, i hemmed it with a cute piece of ribbon trim by turning up the edges a straight 1/2" all the way around. also, i made contrast facings, just because.

version the second:

liberty of london "pep" from shaukat
image from Shaukat

same thing, only this time i remembered to re-size the bodice! also, i am thrilled to say that the pleats came out properly. i swapped the side seam for a CB seam, which somehow works out better for me, and i hand-picked the zipper without beads. this dress has turned into a fabulous little transitional piece as summer in NYC has rapidly faded into fall.

advance 8280: a summer love story at puu's door of time

i then used A8280 with pieces from other gorgeous 1950s dresses, specifically mccall 3489 and mccall 5314. originally i attempted to draft 3489 and 5314 from my A8280 pieces, but ended up buying the mccalls using all three patterns together to get some new dresses.

mccall 3489

mccall 5314

there's a lot of love happening here.

mccall 3489 and mccall 5314 at puu's door of time

Vintage Simplicity 3461 & 4841

Well I loved the first dress so much, that I decided to make it again.
This time in a seasonal Liberty tana lawn called Becky Jane. I love this dress - it's just perfect for spring!

As with my first version of this dress, the bodice was made with Simplicity 3461 and the skirt from Simplicity 4841, both from the 1960s.
I love the the kimono sleeves and really love the shape of the skirt. The two pleats at the front add a little interest, but all the darts shape it nicely. I think next time I'll shorten the bodice to the petite size as it does sit just a fraction below my waist. I also inserted the zipper on the side this time, just because the fabric is so lovely I didn't want a nasty zipper to break up the design. Other than moving the zipper and shortening the hem, this dress is very true to the original design.

More sewing adventures can be found on my blog.

Happy sewing!

Lingerie Sew-Along

Hello all, I hope you're having a lovely weekend.
Today we just began the lingerie sew along over on A Few Threads Loose with a bra pattern.

I have started with a super easy light weight flannel to take some of the intimidation out of sewing lingerie and we're using a pdf printable pattern. Everyone is welcome, and I'm sure the more people who join in, the fewer mistakes I'm likely to make!

Halloween Witch from 1950's Advance Pattern

I had so much fun making this dress! My boys are having a Halloween party for their friends and as Mom-hostess, wanted to make something fun AND appropriate!

The skirt is from a Halloween cotton, "Bellknobs and Broomsticks" by Alexander Henry. The bodice is dupioni silk, embellished with decorative stitching and black glass beads at the neckline. I wore a petticoat that I made several years ago to give the skirt the correct fullness. The bodice is underlined in silk organza.

This was a great and easy pattern to make. The only thing I didn't personally like is that the styling on the midriff. It's designed to sit 1" above the natural waistline... that isn't the best style for me because my small waist is one of my better features that I usually like to make the most of.

Anyway, Happy Halloween!

Any Excuse to Dress Up

This is my version of Butterick 5032.  

I finished the project a couple of years ago, but this poor dress has been extremely neglected.  With Fall upon us, and cold weather closing in, I thought I would pull her out for one last fling before next year.

I have also used the capelet as a cover-up for an embroidered cotton summer dress with quite a bit of success.

Dress: Butterick 5603
Capelet: Butterick 5032

I was expecting to make the sheath dress and cummerbund, however, my fabric did not cooperate with me, and the cummerbund idea was abandoned.  In order to cover the skirt back, which had some fit issues, I used a contrasting cotton sateen and went from there.  I am actually happier with my cobbled together version than I probably would have been with my original idea.  I love when mistakes turn out to be for the best!

More pictures may be found over at my blog, Lilacs & Lace.

My new dream machine - vintage Singer 99

Just had to share a couple of photos of the lovely Singer 99 I bought yesterday in a local charity store.  She is in lovely condition, all decals intact, and more importantly has her original instruction book, tool kit and set of feet -  hadn't ever thought about using a ruffler, under braider, quilter or hemmer, let alone a tuckmarker or five-stitch pleater, but hey, I try to keep an open mind on these things.

I wasn't sure of her exact date but the lovely folks at Singer have a serial number checker on their website, machine-serial-numbers link here.  I was able to accurately date this little beauty to 1939.

Test run will be taking place here in the Fens this weekend.  Happy retro sewing! brocobelle

STOP PRESS --- STOP PRESS --- STOP PRESS Have just lugged my little 99-er up onto my work table, threaded her & - hoping that she maybe had a bobbin already in there! - cranked the handle. She runs like a dream, a pleasing combination of purring and clicking as the handle turns. She manoeuvres really nicely on curves. Keen to try some free embroidery with her. Phew!

Simplicity 2591

 It seems early to be thinking about Fall, but it has rained here all night and drizzled the best part of today. When I look up on the Mesa it is covered in snow. How did October already get here?

Here is my version of Simplicity 2591
The fabric is vintage and was from my stash. The fabric has that stylized brushstroke thing going on that makes me believe it is 50's fabric (also was 35" wide).

Happy Fall.