Jim, the senior researcher at The Sewing Academy has posted numerous tutorials on tailoring reproduction historical garments. This set of photographed instructions documents the steps he took to sew a stunning silk brocade formal vest, from painstakingly making welted pockets, working with hair canvas and batting to give the garment body, attaching the collar, and bagging the lining. The Sewing Academy is E. S. Clark’s on-going living history project (1840 to 1865), and contains an online trove of information for seamstresses who are interested in historical clothing construction. Many of these construction techniques are also applicable to sewing modern garments, and we are proponents of the beauty and sturdiness hand-finishing.
Category Archive: Projects
Tiffany from Simply Modern Mom designed this free tutorial for a child’s side buttoned pleated skirt for SewMamaSew. This skirt is so simple that it doesn’t even require a pattern….just the ability to make basic pleats. This would be classically adorable in one of our vibrant tartan plaids, or in retro pet-able in ribbed corduroy. Perhaps you could even sew complimentary mother-daughter holiday skirts!
We love Queen Anne’s lace or bird’s nest for its delicate shape. This plant gets its name from the laciness of the white flower, with the red flower in the center representing a drop of Queen Anne’s blood from a tatting slip when making the lace. It is unclear whether it was Anne (1574 – 1619), the first Stuart Queen Anne, who was brought over from Denmark at fourteen years of age to be a Queen to King James of Scotland, or Anne (1665 – 1714), the daughter of William and Mary, and the last monarch in the Stuart line. Alicia of RosyLittleThings gives us a charming free transfer of graceful sprigs of Queen Anne’s lace, and suggests embroidering them upon the edge of a pillowcase. This would add a touch of summer meadow to any winter bed linen set.
Fionnuala at Basil Exposition present a tutorial for a customizable, easy–to-sew roll-up knitting needle case in a valiant effort to keep pairs of needles together, to avoid last minute scrambling for an errant needle. This project uses less than one yard of fabric, and would make a delightful gift for your favorite Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle or Madame Defarge.
Some of us have a long weekend over Thanksgiving, which is a perfect time to get caught up on sewing projects and learn new techniques. Terry at Threads Magazine wrote a wonderfully instructive tutorial on pattern grading. Grading enables you to proportionally increase or decrease the size of a pattern, while maintaining shape, fit, balance, and scale of style details. This means that you can adjust for your very specific body shape and size, or make several sizes of one pattern for special occasion attire such as bridesmaid’s dresses, or transform a too-small vintage pattern into one that is usable.
Rachel from QuirkyMomma presents directions on how to make a no-sew Moby-style infant carrying wrap (and how to tie it) These baby slings are fashioned from long pieces of interlock knits, which Britex stocks on our 2nd floor. We would love to see a carrier made of one of our soft terry-cloth or thermal knit. Polka dots? Bold colors? Pirate prints? Schlep your baby in style!
We all agree that Etsy rocks! Michele presents a free How-Tuesday tutorial on creating a geek-tastic computer code necktie. Although the directions provide enough “Personalized Code” for one snazzy tie, you could also customize your cravate with your own code….perhaps a secret romantic poem or a sneaky, snarky message?
This free crocheted spats pattern from HookYarnAndNeedles is very Fred Astaire meets Velveeta cheese. Spats are naturally debonair and gracious, while crocheted granny squares reek of macaroni and cheese and snuggling on the sofa with a Ross Macdonald paperback. Granny square spats are wrong in a plethora of ways, but somehow, I love them all the same.
Linda from NaturalSuburbia posted a tutorial for this chubby wee bluebird of delicious happiness. This fuzzy charmer is made knitted mohair and with circular needles. She suggests knitting a flock of these as part of a centerpiece. They would also be sweet as holiday tree or gift ornaments. I want to knit a passel of them up in shades of sparrow brown, finch yellow, and of course, bluebird blue!
“Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I’m the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul”
(By J. Linnell, J. Flansburgh)
Remember to buy fragrant spices, whole cloves, oranges, and beauteous ribbons from Britex to make this old-fashioned treat. Truli is a talented jeweler, and craft-person. Here she presents a tutorial for making traditional clove-studded pomanders. She says, “The Victorians hung pomanders in their closets to ward off moths. Every Thanksgiving I make the spicy orange pomanders and come Christmas time they are dried and ready to be put out in a large festive bowl for my family and friends to take home as a thoughtful handcrafted gift and the rich spicy fragrance will last for years…. they are so simple to make it’s also a nice project to do with your children or a great activity for children to make in supervised groups too.” Their smell makes me think of holiday gatherings …..next to the scent of freshly waxed antique furniture or fir trees, these make me nostalgic for hot cider, sleigh rides, and uproarious groups of peeps playing board games until 2 am.