17 July 2012

What's On My Sewing Table...


 

I'm carefully refashioning a gorgeous silk vintage dress with four leaf clover print. It has such darling little details that I'm reluctant to cut out, such as handworked loops for bra straps and lining attachment. But it's been sitting in my wardrobe unworn for years, so hopefully a mended zipper, sway back adjustment and new neckline will breathe new life into it. Fingers crossed in time for an upcoming wedding so I don't need to buy a new dress! Have you ever taken scissors to a vintage garment?

What's on your sewing table, please?

[Soundtrack: 'I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone' by Elvis Presley]

50 comments:

  1. Oh I love the fabric but I would be super nervous to start cutting it - can't wait to see what you do with it. Good luck.

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  2. Wow! Beautiful dress! Go for it Tilly, you've got mad skills!

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  3. What a lovely dress! your modifications sound good; I'm excited to see the finished dress. I hacked up a vintage dress once, though more subtly. I chopped about 5 inches off the length, re-hemmed it, and made a partner for the single inseam pocket that it had out of the excess fabric. Worked out really well though! I'm sure you'll be fine :)

    There's a bit of a pile on my table at the moment...
    I have a Cambie all cut out in pink and white gingham, a Crepe dress that needs some fit tweaking, a partway-there Renfrew tank dress like Four Square Walls made, aaaand a few other paper patterns I've started cutting and tracing (Salme Minna blouse, ohhh lulu underwear patterns, thurlow shorts!). I'm moving across the country at the start of August so I have this feeling of needing to cram it all in as there will be no sewing for most of August!!!

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    1. Crikey, you've got a lot on your sewing table!! All sounds amazing, especially the Ohhh Lulu dainties.

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  4. That dress looks gorgeous. Can't wait to see the upgrade. I've got a stack of beautiful vintage dresses my mother-in-law gave me but Ive been afraid (so far) to take the scissors to them! I think I'll wait for inspiration to strike, like you have.

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  5. I've got a lovely Chanel (yes, really) cotton sleeveless shirtdress on my sewing table.It was too big when it was gifted to me years ago & I tried to alter it to fit. Now that I have a little more knowledge & tutorials from bloggers like you at my fingertips, I'm about to try to alter it to fit me again. I've got nothing to lose, as it's far too large for me still. Wish me luck.

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    1. That's the spirit, better worn than gathering dust!

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  6. Oooh, liking the new shape you've marked out Tilly. Are you keeping the sleeves?
    Beautiful print and colours.
    You know me...I'd definately take the scissors to it. You know what you're doing so you're never going to ruin it :)
    Px

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    1. Thank you! Yes, keeping the sleeves, just chopping off the Peter Pan collar (sacrilege!) and neckline. xx

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  7. What a gorgeous dress - that fabric pattern is lovely! I love the new neckline you're planning too - can't wait to see the finished dress!

    I'm in the process of finishing off a Peony dress for a wedding in a couple of weeks then it's on the a 1950s sundress in the hopes that the sun actually makes an appearance at some point!

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    1. Hahaha yes my Summer sewing plans haven't quite seemed so urgent in the rain!

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  8. This dress looks awesome, I'm sure you'll make something great out of it! Personally I know I would be too scared to take the scissors to a vintage garment (yet maybe I should...I have a late 50s shirtdress which I love, but the waistline is a bit too high, it cuts into my ribcage and doesn't allow me to breathe properly...maybe if I took a little fabric at the hem to insert it at the waist and drop the waistline a bit?)
    As for what's on my sewing table, it's a Lily, which I am making in blue Tiki Island fabric. All I've left to do is insert the zipper, sew the neckline facing and hem it! Once it's done I'll turn to something sweet and simple (probably a Sorbetto...) and I can't wait to be on holiday to tackle a Lonsdale dress...and maybe a Sencha, a Violet, a shirt for my boyfriend...Hope I'll have enough time to do all that!

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    1. Lily in Tiki sounds lovely. I take it you're talking about a dedicated sewing holiday rather than a beach/mountain holiday?! The best kind :)

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  9. What a lovely dress - Gorgeous colours. Look forward to the reveal of your restyle.

    Last night I was altering a pair of trousers I got from Ebay - I was pretty cavalier about it as they're black so they'll be pretty forgiving to any poor sewing. I've never tried altering trousers before so just dived in!

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  10. Oh gosh - what a beauty, that print is beeeeeautiful, I love anything hydrangea ... I'm really interested to see how you adapt the neckline, what were you thinking of doing?

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    1. Are you seeing hydrangeas? I thought it was four leaf clovers... hmm... maybe you're right!

      I'm getting rid of the high necked Peter Pan collar which made me look 12 years old and lowering it into a squarish neckline.

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  11. How pretty! I have a vintage dress that I cut up when I was younger and more foolish, and it's still in pieces! I didn't realize that the style of the dress was virtually impossible to refashion... ugh! I'm still holding out hope that I'll figure SOMETHING out eventually!

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    1. Oh well, I'm sure you'll do something with it - just wait for inspiration to strike!

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  12. Lovely! I've not done this, too afraid, I suppose, though I have a growing pile of vintage items begging to be altered....

    I'm working on a beach cover-up for my mom, it's her birthday soon!

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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  13. Gorgeous! I can't wait to be a skilled enough sewer to attempt this.

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  14. Such a gutsy move! Much admiration for diving in:)

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  15. I love the shape of this dress! I'm with you on the fear of cutting something so classic and vintage. There are garments that I have just never touched (and therefore never worn) because I just could not bear to cut into them to make them fit... Which is crazy because if they don't fit I will never wear them anyway. I laud you oh brave one!

    As for my sewing table, I'm actually blogging today about taking on a few to many projects at once. I have an historical victorian bustle costume that I'm hand sewing all by hand (because I'm a bit of a masochistic), a blouse and a vest to add as work staples for the new teaching year, and the fabric for my first attempt at a self-drafted fitted skirt is just begging to be used!

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    1. Oh gosh, I know that feeling! I used to be strictly a one-project-at-a-time sewist, but I've currently got a heap of things I've committed to doing and feeling the pressure... which isn't how it's supposed to be! But some people swear by having different things on the go for different moods.

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  16. That dress is gorgeous- I can't wait to see what you do with it!

    I in fact have a business taking scissors to vintage garments! www.facebook.com/IllBeDarned

    xx

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  17. This is beautiful. What a gorgeous print!

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  18. I can't wait to see what you do with this. The fabric looks absolutely beautiful. I love the look of the shape you've marked out for the neckline (I assume that's what it is!).

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  19. Hi Tilly, when are you going to expand your learn to sew section. I'm dying to start really sewing and so far I've found your learn to sew section quite helpful but I just wish there was more stuff like a walk through on how to sew a basic dress, shirt and or skirt pattern including all the terminology and also things like the difference between pressing and ironing. Thanks.

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    1. Ooooooooh...! I know! I really want to expand it too but it takes soooooo long to do. Those first posts took me 6 months!! But fear not, I have a plan up my sleeve, as I really want to do more stuff for beginners. Watch this space... (but not too much as it'll take a while to get right!)

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    2. PS. I'm glad you asked as it's given me a kick up the bum to focus and get on with it!

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  20. Great way to breathe new life into a dress. I love vintage stuff, but sometimes it just doesn't translate well to 2012. I should totally do this to some of my vintage pieces. BTW, you know if you clip carefully enough you can save those bra loops and move them out to the new narrower shoulders. Or if you want to make new ones it is basically just thread that is doubled up and fashioned into a chainstitch like in knitting.

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    1. Thanks - just fished the bra loops out of the bin! The perfectionist in me was planning on learning to make them from scratch, just because... but frankly life's too short, so I'm taking your advice and using the originals!

      BTW I love the name of your company!!

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  21. Your dress takes me back to my mom's closet when I was young. It's lovely. I totally understand your reluctance to cut into it and I'm also happy to know someone else who has to deal with a sway back!

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  22. This is a really beautiful dress. There's nothing I love more than improving a garment so it'll be worn more often.

    I think I might follow your lead and start tweeting or blogging my projects midway - I'm in such a sewing slump right now and need a kick up the bum to get it going again!

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    1. Do it, everyone loves a peek at a sewing project!

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  23. That's a really beautiful dress! It looks like a hydrangea print rather than a four-leaf clover print, though.

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    1. You're the second person to say that and now I'm wondering what I was thinking saying it was four leaf clover! But can you get green hydrangeas? I dunno. But hydrangeas are good in any case!

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    2. Yes you can, I've got one in my garden! x

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  24. Oh my goodness, your dress is gorgeous! Good luck with the re-fashion. On my sewing table is a denim skirt, but it's currently having a think about itself because it's too big.

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  25. What a beautiful, beautiful fabric! I adore it and can't wait to see the finished dress.

    I'm still working on a vintage angel-back muu muu from Pauloa patterns, and that reminds me that I should update my blog soon with my (slow) progress.

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    1. That description sounds so intriguing!

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  26. wow - i really love the print! if you don't wear it as it currently is, the refashion will breathe new life into it! the most i have ever done to a vintage item is to take up the hem on a 60s dress (which i still have) but i did leave the original hem - luckily as i tend to wear things a bit longer these days! must dig it out actually.

    currently i have just finished a Hazel and a retro butterick vintage style dress. both are awaiting blogging (the weather is making photo taking a bit difficult!) so i should probably focus on that! but next up is a peony and after that i might join the macaron sewalong on rhinestones and telephones. so it's all about colette for me!

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  27. That dress is beautiful!! I have altered vintage dresses before. I only start to get worried once cutting is involved and when doing a refashion I usually seam rip everything so that not a millimeter is wasted even though it takes way more time.

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  28. I am not a real fan of green but have to say I love this dress and look forward to seeing your alterations.
    On my sewing table currently is my ALMOST finished sencha blouse...Only the second clothing item I've ever made and am having lots of fun making it - plus I have patterns for future projects, just trying to decide which one to do next!

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  29. It's lovely Tilly and I think it's going to look even better once you take the scissors to it! I love the colours - there's something about vintage blues and greens that are so evocative.
    I've actually got the beginnings of a winter coat on my sewing table!! x

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  30. This dress is so pretty. I particularly like the fresh print, it does look perfect for a wedding. I am looking forward to see the result!

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  31. Love the print, but I love the belt even more (just wish I still had the waist to wear a belt like that!). Can't wait to see the finished version - good luck!

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  32. Not being a super-seamstress (my experience is more in the surface design/quilting arena), I decided to completely remake and alter a vintage dress to be my wedding gown (after taking it to the most recommended cleaner in town and getting it back looking like I'd taken it to the cat shelter for bedding). This included making a new silk chiffon overlayer for the entire dress, alterations to the fit and a new neckline, as well as piping and a new zipper. What I'm getting at is that my experiment went well, I'm beyond certain yours will be lovely.

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  33. What a beautiful dress - hope it goes (has gone?!) well for you - please wear it and let it get the compliments it (and you) deserve x

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