Learning about Stretch Fabric with The Gable Top

Let it be known that I am now a convert to the wonders of stretch fabric! I had honestly avoided stretch fabric in the past as learning the ins and outs of certain fabrics isn’t at all intuitive for me, and I thought it would be best to attend some online classes on the topic first before I dove in. But at the time I first started working on this pattern, I had been thinking quite a lot about the gaps in my wardrobe, and how to continue this passion for sewing without making things for the sake of simply having something to make. I couldn’t ignore the fact that I didn’t have a lot of winter tops, despite the fact that I live somewhere with long-lasting cold seasons. So after researching patterns for vintage inspired stretch fabric tops, I at last settled on a PDF version of the Gable Top, by Jennifer Lauren Handmade, which had a plethora of positive reviews.

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Half Slips with McCall’s 8164

As a rule of thumb, I sew what I am inspired to work on at that moment in time. I find that makes the process much more fun and helps me to keep enthused even if several muslins are required. Although I am also focusing on making things that fill a particular hole in my current wardrobe, and where possible are seasonally appropriate, that was definitely not the case when I broke out McCall’s 8164 and started working on it. This is a lovely slip pattern to be sure, but was hardly suited for the cold weather that was coming in!  

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Weigel’s 1808

Hello friends! If there is one thing I have learned with sewing, it’s that a little imagination and a willingness to make mistakes can go a long way to creating something wonderful! That was definitely the case when I decided to try Weigel’s 1808, View B. Technically this pattern is for a house/brunch coat, but months ago when I spotted it for sale I thought – wow! That would make an amazing dress! It had every feature I like in a dress, including the most incredible looking pockets! I had also been extremely curious about Weigel’s patterns after seeing other people making and discussing them on some vintage sewing groups I follow, and wanted to see what it would be like to work through one.

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Simplicity 6550

Hello friends! After the incredible success I had with my first attempt at a proper pattern hack, I was looking forward to testing even more wintery makes that would be appropriate for the chilly weather. I was keen to try all sorts of new heavier weight fabrics and see if I couldn’t create some more vintage inspired, seasonal clothing. However, my laptop took a not entirely unexpected turn over one weekend and simply refused to hold a charge. This meant a lot of hasty backing up onto an external hard drive while I still could, and the generosity of a friend’s brother in sharing his store discount to help me afford a new machine. As someone who rarely buys brand new this all was a bit exciting, but also meant I had to seriously rethink all my immediate sewing plans for the next while due to the budget change. Enter Simplicity 6550. 

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Butterick 9779, and Pattern Hacking

If someone had tried to tell me this time last year that I would not only be making shorts that fit perfectly, and from a vintage pattern; but that I would also be pattern hacking to make pants and overalls! Well, I don’t think I would have believed them. But despite that I have now completed some of my most successful makes to date, and it all begins with my purchase of the circa 1960s pattern, Butterick 9779. It was a somewhat risky purchase for me, being a little bit pricer and coming from an overseas seller – my last experience of which had been truly terrible. However, I worried over nothing! The seller was lovely, the pattern arrived in a brilliant condition – albeit with a slightly wonky waistband from people accidentally trimming bits off. Over the course of one virtual craft evening with a friend I very gently ironed out the pattern pieces for the medium size and got to tracing and copying the markings into more modern versions.  

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Butterick B5748

Hello friends! I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to be sharing this particular post! In all the time I have been focusing quite seriously on developing my skills in sewing, I had never once successfully made a dress. I think, similar to how pants and shorts are now my Everest, dresses were a fitting challenge I didn’t quite have the skills to unravel at the time. But having acquired two large pieces of fabric from a community stall event prior to all the shutdowns which simply told me they had to be made into dresses, I knew it was time to confront this challenge again. So when I stumbled over someone selling Butterick B5748, I knew this was going to be the pattern I would sink my teeth into. It’s a gorgeous reprint of a 1960’s pattern, with updated instructions and multiple sizes – which worked very well for me. 

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Simplicity 2151

Hello friends. One thing that gives me a lot of comfort at the moment is following along with other people’s sewing and seeing what other projects we’re all working through. It’s inspired me to continue working through my own growing pile of secondhand patterns, seeing what I can create with the fabric I have on hand and how creative I can be with the scraps. It’s a chance to flex my creative muscles. I do have a few bits and pieces in mind, and have already begun investigating the possibility of making my own bias binding from odd pieces – leaving the fabric from some old sheets as pocket lining and things like that. But first on my list was this gorgeous blouse pattern, Simplicity 2151,  in combination with this secondhand fabric I’d had for about two months or so. 

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McCall’s M6436

It’s no secret that I love button-up, collared blouses. My regular work wardrobe is comprised almost exclusively of collared shirts, cardigans, sweaters to be mixed and matched with black slacks. It allows me to sneak a bit of 50’s and 60’s style into my professional wardrobe, which pleases me to no end. So I am always on the lookout for more collared blouses when I am out hunting for secondhand goodies, and have gotten quite lucky over time in finding a few in very good condition. My current wardrobe is in fact comprised entirely of secondhand and me-made blouses now, which I consider quite an achievement. However, there is still something I am lacking. And that is the truest of staple blouses, the white collared blouse.

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Pattern Drafting – Peasant Blouse

As much as I love living Australia, being so far from some of the largest viable sources of secondhand fabric and patterns does mean learning to sew can get very expensive. For a lot of people I often hear that it’s prohibitively expensive, especially as very few stores allow payment plans for purchasing machines and tools. So it seemed natural to me that at some point I would need to learn how to do some pattern drafting in order to make the things that I couldn’t find a pattern for. And what better place to start than with my Holy Grail vintage item, the classic peasant blouse.

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Simple Sew Lottie Blouse

Hold onto your hats Theydies and Gentlethem, because I am about to tell you something shocking. What I want to tell you is that it’s normal to fail. As scandalous as that might sound, I believe that it doesn’t matter how old we get or how experienced we are, we will always make mistakes. And I don’t say that in a completely negative way either. Certainly failure is disappointing, mistakes are frustrating, and wouldn’t it be great if things worked perfectly all the time? Well, sure. But how good does it feel to come out the other side of a series of failures with one precious success? How much do we learn from when things go wrong, versus when there’s not a single bump in the road? How connected do we feel to others when they share their mistakes? Personally, I love those stories. So let me share the story of the many failures that led to the amazing success of the Lottie Blouse.

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