Category Archives: Sewing

Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Titanic Sewing Project

The Vintage Pattern Lending Library has put together a fantastic sewing project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

I sent my request to join the 1912 Titanic Sewing Project  and forwarded the required information, now I am waiting on tenterhooks to begin!

I feel like this will be a great opportunity to expand my sewing skills. I am quite interested in historical sewing techniques and I love seeing things people create.

Here is an additional  blog about the project

I really hope to be included, I would love to make a few things to wear over my teens era corsets!



Work(s) in Progress

I generally spend way too much time looking online for things to make than I do actually making anything.

That being said, I actually have been working on a few corsets, one Victorian and the other two from the Titanic-1910’s-Teens era.

If I ever plan on making a  Downton Abbey-esque type of outfit I will need the proper undergarments! I decided to try out two different teens era corset patterns I found online. Both of the pattern makers/creators/geniuses used vintage corsets to draft the patterns.

The first corset pattern I am using is from the Bridges on the Body blog. The author hosted a  1911 Corset Sew Along that just ended recently. I was too late to join the sew along so I decided to go at it alone.

This is a five panel corset pattern with separate font and back facings. The front facing is part of the center front panel in the original, I changed it because I didn’t want to cut slits in the fabric for the busk. I love the system of notches used in this pattern.

Putting the pattern together involved enlarging the original pattern to fit the scale, and then making adjustments to  fit my personal measurements.   This is my second or third version of the pattern and it is still a work in progress. I had enlarged it originally, to better fit my measurements, only to have it come out too big when I sewed the first mock up. This version is smaller, close to the original size of the scaled up pattern. I sewed the second mock up last night but when I put it on without any bones  it just didn’t sit right. I can’t tell if the sizing is still off or if it just needs to be boned and made out of a firmer material than a light weight cotton. Today I plan to insert some bones in order to better check the fit.

This is the rear view of my second mock up. The only bones I have inserted are in the lacing strips.

Lacing it up by myself was almost comedic, as the front is sewn shut. Frustration may have adversely affected fit!!

I already  think I want to extend the length of this pattern a bit.  I didn’t include a seam allowance on the top and bottom edges and it sits higher on my thighs then I think it should.

The second corset pattern I am working on is from the Festive Attyre  Historic Costuming blog. The author’s article, Reconstructing a Teens Era Corset was originally published on Foundations Revealed*, (as I believe was the original pattern for the Bridges on the Body sew along).

I haven’t made a mock up of this pattern yet. I think I may work on this in class this week. I need to get over to a fabric store and purchase a heavier weight cotton for mock ups.

*Once I finish my first few corsets I am gong to treat myself to a subscription!

corsets corsets corsets!

Corset class is starting to pick up. We’ve turned in our first two draped corset/bodice mock ups and are getting closer and closer to working on our final project.

I’ve managed to trace off both the Laughing Moon Dore corset and the Truly Victorian 1880’s late Victorian corset patterns and will likely build two corsets, as each has a different shape and differing construction instructions.

I am leaning more towards the TV pattern at this point, but I also have a strong desire to build a teens era corset as well (thanks Downton Abbey, for making the world obsessed with Titanic era clothing!).

I found this wonderful 1911 Corset Sew Along on this amazing blog:  Bridges on the Body. I of course MISSED the sew along and am now working my through it at my own pace. My first mock up ended up being too big, so I fixed the pattern pieces and am planning on having another go at it today in between working on my lacing strips.

I cannot say enough about this blog. I believe I am on my 3rd or 4th read through of all the posts, it is that good!


Lady Sybil and the Turkish Trousers

I confess, I finally watched Downton Abbey after hearing people talk about it for ages. When Lady Sybil walked into the room wearing  pantaloons at the end of the 4th episode I immediately fell in love with the design.

I decided I would really like to re-create this outfit, and after looking at pictures, pausing the episode a million times (not fun to do when watching Netflix through a Wii!) I think I have it partially figured out. To me it looks like a set of harem style pants with an overlay on one leg in a lighter color that crosses over the front. I am pretty confident I can pull something off. The top of the outfit is what will give me all of the trouble, as it was created from a large embroidered panel. I do not embroider, so I hope I will be able to find a large piece if trim to do something with.

While doing research I came across this lovely article with the Downton Abbey costume designer Susanah Buxton. She actually mentions the outfit!

I also started a board on pinterest for the project.

I found some pretty crinkled georgette on sale at Fashion Fabric Club site (my first foray into ordering fabric online) and am patiently waiting for it to arrive. The fabric in the original pants is smooth, but I think what I picked out will suffice.


The gift shop I work at sells a large variety of inexpensive masquerade masks. As I was straightening the other evening I came across the perfect mask to match the bee and fleur de lis fabric I found at school last week.  I love the colors in the mask so much I want to mimic them on a corset.

Our final project in the class is to turn in one completed corset. We are allowed to use the patterns we drafted or a commercial pattern. I am leaning towards the Truly Victorian TV110 as it is a straight forward late Victorian pattern with minimal fussiness. I would love to pattern match the front corset panels brocade in the picture above, and alternate gold and rust panels for the rest of the corset. I didn’t have any luck finding matching fabric at Jo-Ann, fortunately there are a few other places around for me to check out.

At this rate I am going to have to build multiple corsets in order to incorporate all of my ideas. I am already torn between building a Victorian corset and  18th century stays. I would also like to add an underbust corset to the mix!

Corset Building, Week One

We are starting off the semester with four weeks of draping. We began by labeling the parts of a dress form. The dress forms we are using are a size 8. I assume this is an industry standard. Unfortunately anything I make for this class will be too small to actually fit me (I am closer to a size 12-14 in the sewing world). I am going to work on a personal corset project in addition to the class project.

After labeling the dress form we took our 1/4″ ribbon and outlined all of the corset panels. Since we are sharing forms with  a partner we each chose a side to work on and met in the middle. After this step we tore separate rectangles of muslin (on grain), one for each panel of the corset. Each muslin panel measured one inch larger than the widest portion of the ribbon panel, on both sides and top and bottom. We then pinned each muslin panel to the dress form and traced the ribbon panels. Although mine are not perfect, they shall suffice.

My muslin corset pattern panels:

The side front and side back are different lengths at the sides. I am hoping to learn how to fix this in class next week. On Tuesday I believe we are going to clean up this muslin pattern, transfer it to paper and then start work on the next one.

The Pumpkin Bird Skirt

In order to prepare for taking a sewing class this semester I decided to make a few things with materials I had on hand. I belong to a lot of sewing and craft communities on live journal and I really like the project forms used by the sew_loli community and will be using them in my project posts.

Project Registration

Project Title : Pumpkin Bird Skirt
Short Project Description: Lined skirt with a yoke, side zipper and gathered poof.
Projected Deadline: No deadline
Pattern(s) Used: Vogue 8127 (view C)
Materials needed: 100% cotton for the skirt itself and a satiny polyester lining fabric, 7″ zipper, hook & eye closure and thread.
Challenges or obstacles : I do not have much experience putting zippers in.

Project Completion

Project Title: Pumpkin Bird Skirt
Project Start Date: January ?
Planned Finish Date: January ?
Actual Finish Date: It only took a couple of days.
Did you make changes from original plan? The pattern is sized (6-8-10-12), I am technically a 14 on the bottom, pattern wise. I increased the yoke and lining pieces a fraction of an inch on each side (I used the same distance from a size 10 to size 12 to make a size 14).
Did you discover something you want to share?
Practice makes perfect?
How happy are you with the result? 90%. I need to re-stitch the zipper, as I cut some important threads that had bunched up on the back, and the hem is slightly uneven. This skirt would likely lay better if I had used a silky material instead of 100% cotton. All the bad aside, it fits perfectly and I do not think the print screams Halloween so I can likely get away with wearing at other times of the year.