Sewing lessons – It’s completed!!!

I did it!!!

I finished my skirt and I am thrilled!!!

I actually finished it about 4 weeks ago but just never got a chance to have some proper pics taken of the finished skirt, last night was my first opportunity so here it is.

Sewing lessons 1940s skirt

I am really proud of my effort and because Melbourne had some amazing warm days in the first week of September I did actually wear my skirt outside…in the world…and it was perfect. Made all the more better because I FREAKIN MADE THIS BABY!!!.

Sewing lessons 1940s skirtYup…handmade by me!

Sewing lessons 1940s skirt

So, what to do now? Well I decided to do a top next.  A good friend of mine is a collector of vintage patterns and she recently finished an adorable blouse from a pattern made in 1944.

1944 Blouse PatternCopyright 1944

1944 Blouse Pattern

I couldn’t help myself, I have to make this top. So I borrowed the top and tried it on – perfect fit and works so well with my Freddies of Pinewood jeans.

The pattern is a 34 inch bust and I AM NOT a 34 inch bust. So I copied the pattern onto interfacing – no way in hell I am cutting up a paper pattern from the 40’s!

I then skillfully (HA!) added an extra 3cms to the sleeves and sides of the pattern – the black lines are the original lines on the pattern and the red is my attempt at increasing the size of the top.

1944 Blouse Pattern

When I got into my sewing lesson I showed my teacher the pattern and my friends blouse and my ahem…dodgy alterations to the pattern size and I decided that was my next challenge. It’s a gorgeous top and I will actually make a few of them and shock horror…will go and buy the same fabric as my friends version just because it’s so freakin perfect!!

The real deal – vintage sewing pattern instructions.

1944 Blouse Pattern

So by the end of my lesson I managed to finish my skirt and started cutting my fabric out ready for my gorgeous blouse, just hoping that it does actually fit when it’s done. If not, then that’s ok. It’s all good practise I suppose!

 Ready to cut the fabric.

1944 Blouse Pattern




Sewing lessons – week 6

By Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2 , , Permalink 0

I was absolutely convinced that by the end of Monday’s lesson I would have completed my skirt.


Nope, didn’t happen. Although I am desperate to get this skirt finished I also understand that there is a process to follow and all the extra little unknown steps actually help to produce a more professional looking skirt.

Ok, so when I arrived into class thinking that I would be trimming some edging on my skirt – maybe iron it down and then getting straight into the hemming I was kinda right but also wrong.

First up – trimming that excess fabric in the corners of the facing and then using the iron to press it down and then stitching it so it doesn’t roll up when you are wearing it.

Ooh messy edges.

Sewing LessonsAll neat & tidy!

Sewing LessonsExtra stitching to the facing to stop it rolling out when wearing (oh and I had to iron this after stitching, with the aid of a Tailors Ham – how amazing is a Tailors Ham!!!..gotta get me one of those!).

Sewing LessonsThen the flap that covers the zipper needed to be pinned into place.

Sewing LessonsThen be stitched over to hold the flap in place.

Sewing Lessons

Then I had to find out what the seam allowance was on this skirt, checking the paper pattern it was 3.2cms so we cheated a little and made it 3cms. I had to get the measuring tape and head over to the iron and measure & iron 3cms all around the hem of the skirt so the fabric would be pressed into place.

Sewing Lessons

Next is to overlock (insert Angels playing on harps here cause I just LOVE using the overlocker) the edge of the hem.

Sewing LessonsAll nicely overlocked and ready for….HAND STITCHING……AHHHHH!

Sewing Lessons

I am kinda getting really excited now. I really really want to finish my skirt and BAM. I am told that I have to HAND STITCH my hem. Thank goodness this isn’t a circle skirt. LOL.

So never having actually been shown the correct way to do hidden stitching and always being very unimpressed with any hand stitching I have done in the past I was actually really surprised that it was actually pretty easy and shhh I actually enjoyed it.

Yup, I totally enjoyed sitting at my table and stitching with my hands and a sewing needle and getting all squinty eyed while I try and find 2 looms that my little needle could go through.

Sewing Lessons

Unfortunately class finished before I could so I will ahem…cheat and actually pick it up sometime this week and finish it while the method is still fresh in my head.

Almost finished!!! I still have 4 weeks of lessons to do so I am curious as to what I will do then – another skirt would be great!!!!


Sewing lessons – week 5

By Tuesday, August 13, 2013 1 , , Permalink 0

The half way point in my first ever sewing lessons as an adult and I am quite happy to admit that I really am enjoying it, I am busting to get this skirt done and just put it.

Week 5 was all about facing. I started pinning the paper pattern to the fabric last week but the class ended so this week I doubled checked that my two paper pattern pieces were in place and pinned down. I cut the pieces out and then got the interfacing out, placed my cut pattern pieces over the interfacing and cut those pieces out.

Pattern pieces overlayed on the interfacing.

Sewing classes

Once the interfacing was all cut I had to cut a nick into the sides of the facing that sits on my hips so I could distinguish which side goes where, it’s easy with my fabric because there is a very distinct front and back to it. If you had fabric that was difficult to determine ‘front’ or ‘back’ the nick/cut comes in handy when fusing the interfacing to the facing – ooh look…technical terms!! lol

Over to the ironing board where we double check that the fusing & interfacing are the right way – fabric pattern facing down (or right side down) and the interfacing with the glue sits on top of the fabric (glue side down). Calico under all the fabric to protect the ironing board. Calico on top of the fabric & interfacing to protect the iron and press away. You need heat & pressure to make the interfacing stick.

Interfacing all fused onto the facing. I trimmed those fuzzy edges.

Sewing classes

Sweet sweet overlocker! Overlock the short edges on my facing (seriously…how fricken amazing is the overlocker…person who invented the overlocker – YOU ROCK!).

Overlocking the short edges of the facing.

Sewing classesShort edges are overlocked and just need to be trimmed.

Sewing classes

Now to match all my pieces up ready to join them up.

Sewing classes

Stitch the matched up facing pieces and then you have one long piece of facing that has a long piece that sits at the front of the skirt and two smaller pieces that sit at the back of the skirt.

Stitching 15mms from the overlocked edge.

Sewing classesOooh look…some stitches.

Sewing classesIron those seams please – nice and flat – this is the BEFORE shot.

Sewing classesPew pew..never underestimate the power of the IRON. lol

Sewing classes

The interfacing needed to be added to the skirt (I was secretly jumping for joy inside…I am that much closer to finishing my skirt). I matched the seams and pinned and then sewed but…BUT had to stop where the back darts are because the zipper has to be done a special way.

Sewing classes

This is where it kinda got tricky, most of what I was shown kinda went in the space between my ears and then flew straight back out – well some of it. I managed to match seams & pin the right hand side of the zipper & facing. Stitched those no probs. Eeek my problems start with matching seams where the flap is that covers the zipper on the left hand side of the skirt.

Sewing classesThe teacher did it and I tried making notes but…I am going to have to do that about 10 times before I remember how to do it.

Sewing classes

Either way, I stitched the seams and a bit of tweaking – literally a millimetre on both sides and I managed to get the fabric to meet at the top of the skirt.

All stitched together!!

Sewing classes

Sooooo I guess next week will be the bottom hem? I heard something about hand stitching ?!?!?!?!?!?! WHAT. Sigh.




Sewing lessons – week 4

By Tuesday, August 6, 2013 1 , Permalink 0

After a trail blazing session last week this weeks class moved at a much slower pace.

I had to mark down my alterations and EEEEK maths was involved in working out averages and halving stuff. I wrote the ‘formula’ down to ensure that my skirt was taken in at each side equally and then using a curved ruler and pen to mark out the alterations.

Sewing lessonsThat pen line is the line to sew on.

Sewing lessonsBoth the seams with the pen lines drawn on, ready for sewing.

Sewing lessons

A bit more sewing and then another try of my skirt and perfect!!! Great fit, not too tight & not too loose so on to the next step.

Sewing lessons

I had to trim the seams, overlock them (love the overlocker!!) and then iron the seams down – both the sides and the front seam.

Sewing lessons

So I kinda got excited now….on to the next bit..huh huh…uhh NO.

I had to alter the paper versions of the patterns so when I do this skirt again (which I will) the size will be perfect. So…more measuring and cutting.

Sewing lessons

Finally I got onto the interfacing. Trim the paper pattern, overlay that onto the fabric, pin in place…getting excited because…oh..sorry…class is over.

Sewing lessons


Yeah so that was my Monday night session. It felt like it was done in 5 mins and not 2 hours.

I am itching to get to the next bit.



Vintage in Winter

During Winter it’s really tricky to have that ‘vintage’ look. Easy with the hair and make up but I hate the cold. I have heaps of dresses but I would have to team them with pantyhose & cardigans and it’s just not enough to keep me warm.

Friends of Couture

I do kinder drop-offs and pick-ups 4 times a week so I dress casually but it’s still enough that I have that ‘vintage’ look.

I got these fabulous Freddies of Pinewood 1940’s work jeans on eBay. I absolutely love these jeans and they are so comfortable. These are high waisted and very very different from any of the modern style of jeans so I do stand out with my ‘old fashioned’ jeans.

Freddies of Pinewood jeans

 I mixed it up with different cardigans – my passion. I have a real thing for vintage beaded cardigans and have accumulated a few of them either through eBay, vintage stores or vintage markets. Some of them were (now I know) a little overpriced and others absolute bargains. I recently bought a vintage cream coloured beaded cardigan for only $9.99 – it’s in my birthday pile so I have to pretend I don’t know what I am getting for a whole month.

Then the other cardigans I have are just random buys online and even Target & Big W when I have seen a particular colour that I like. The Big W buy was a stupid one…right colour but way too long. Meh.

The jumper I have on in this pic is a Boxing Day sale buy – online Friends of Couture. I love it – I’m not much a fan of jumpers (taking it off over my hairstyles can be a bit stress inducing) but this is cute, warm, has two little bows on the front & has full length sleeves.

Freddies of Pinewood jeans

My pearls – single strand are also vintage. I picked them up….so freakin cheap with the most amazing clasp on the back for only $6.00 from the ‘Round She Goes’ market that was held recently at Box Hill.

My shoes – el cheapo. Kmart buy for $3.00. I needed plain white canvas shoes and found these. They work.

Sewing lessons – week 3

By Tuesday, July 30, 2013 0 , , Permalink 0

Zippppppppppers!!! I nailed this baby! Ok, so it was the second time I have sewn in a zipper BUT both methods were totally different so I have now learnt two totally different ways of achieving the same outcome. The beauty of learning I suppose.

First up – sewing my back centre seam but not all the way up because….<insert heavenly music> that’s where the zipper goes.

Sewing lessonsSeams apart so you can see what was sewn.

Sewing lessonsIron the seams apart.

Sewing lessonsThis is where the zipper is pinned & sewn in – there is a bit over overlap.

Sewing lessonsPin thw zipper in place but only on one side and sew that baby in place.

Sewing lessons


Sewing lessonsThen you want to pin the other side of your zipper in place and sew that down too.

Sewing lessonsStitch the other side of the zipper in place.

Sewing lessonsZipper is all sewn in!!

Sewing lessonsThis is the overlap that covers the zipper when you are wearing it.

Sewing lessons

THEN…the next bit. Putting your two pieces together – join up to make sure they are in place and pinning them together.

Sewing lessons


Sewing lessonsPins running up along the edges that are going to be stitched together.

Sewing lessons

Sew the seams all the way down both edges and well…you have now got the makings of a skirt.

I had to try it on for sizing – sorry no pics and my teacher helped to pin it in a bit so it would fit. Pins were inserted where it has to be bought in to fit and the job next week. Altering the skirt to fit me.



Sewing lessons – Week 2

By Tuesday, July 23, 2013 1 , , Permalink 0

Ok so after a great start to my introduction to sewing last week, I picked up where I left off ‘THE OVERLOCKER’. I used one in 1992 for about 20mins and it was fun. I love that it stitches and trims the edge of the fabric and leaves your material looking so perfect & finished.


So I had another muck around with some scrap fabric and used a different machine from the one I used last week. Last week the loops were all over the place and looked worse than amateur. So this week I made a point of using a different overlocker and what would you know – perfect. Nice loopy loops and it works out that the good machine also has cream coloured thread which works perfectly against the colours on my fabric.


So I stitched and stitched on my practice scraps and then decided to tackle my pieces of fabric for my skirt and it only took me less than 5 minutes to make a mistake. I stitched the wrong edge. YUP. You see, we overlock the edge that the zipper goes on because later on when the zip is on the skirt it will be hard to overlock it then. Anyway. Not a huge problem as the edge I overlocked will be done when the time comes to do it!

The next part of our class was darts. I have 4 of them on my skirt so it was a matter of learning how to transfer the dart on the pattern onto your fabric and then gathering those darts and stitching them. I tried it on some scrap fabric and it worked. Then tackled my real fabric and it worked again! Whew!!

See that sewn in line…that’s my very first dart!! yay yay


Next week ZIPPERS!!!



Sewing lessons – week 1

By Tuesday, July 16, 2013 0 , Permalink 0

So I have decided that I want to start learning to sew. Ideally I would love to learn how to make my own 40’s & 50’s dresses & skirts & tops & whatever else takes my fancy.

I did sewing at school when I was in yr 7 – a long time ago! I touched on it again when I was about 16 but that was for 1 semester.

So, lesson 1 was about double checking your size based on the pattern specs and then unraveling the paper pattern, cutting the pieces your require and then overlaying that onto your fabric. Cutting the fabric and marking the darts and the little triangle bits (that’s the technical term…no…really…lol).

This is the fabric I bought. It has teeny tiny writing in French on it.

Sewing02There is even an Eiffel Tower printed over it.


Marking the darts was important for me. I have another way above my level dress that I am working on and it’s a 1958 party dress and yeah, I hit the darts bit and went…uh. Oh. Hmmm.

I know how to mark those now, so no guessing.

All pinned and ready to cut!



Sewing04This is the pattern I am making, there were about 6 to choose from and I am so grateful for a 1940’s vintage styled skirt.


Finally I got to have a go on an overlocker, takes a bit of getting used to but yeah. First lesson was great and I really enjoyed it, can’t wait for next week.