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Information and tutorials for folks interested in antique Italian lacework, nouveau fashion, sewing techniques and much much more!

Category Archive: Sewing

Working with Silk Necklines

Jennifer at GrainlineStudio has a deceptively simple tip for creating perfect necklines in lightweight silk fabrics such as silk crepe de chine, silk charmeuse, or silk chiffon; use a narrow strip of interfacing to hold the necklines shape and add strength, while remaining delicately flexible.

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How to Make a Cravat

The cravat has returned! The ingenious Baroness Violet von Mickelsburg from SteamIngenious: Steampunk creations, thoughts, photos, and tips has graciously provided a tutorial on cravat construction. All you need is a scrap of luxurious silk fabric from Britex Fabrics, a wee bit of sewing, and some skill with knot-tying, and this elegant frippery can be yours to wear. We can’t guarantee that tossing on a cravat will make you as suave as Laurence Olivier, but we can promise that heads will swivel and knees will buckle as you saunter by.

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Make a Debonair Men’s Camel Wool Coat

It is not too soon to think about the chilly days of winter, and we can all agree that everyone needs a toasty, debonair winter coat! Josephine from TheSilkFutures.Blogspot modified and made this coat for her boyfriend, William from Burda’s pattern 6039(also avialable at Britex!) We’d love to see this coat made up in classic imported fine English wool camel hair coating, and adorned with Italian Corozo buttons…the asymmetrical double-breasted front with its parade of buttons, and the stand-up collar gives this style dash. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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Make a Child’s Retro Pleated Skirt

Just in time for cool autumn schooldays, Ros from SewDelicious has made a tutorial for a kicky retro-inspired pleated skirt. Her skirt is sewn in navy denim and polka-dots, and adorned with bright red buttons, but it would be delightful in just about anything…perhaps a check or a plaid. This skirt is perfect for shuffling merrily through piles of dried leaves and sipping apple cider. Her directions makes a child’s size 3, however it would be très simple to size up or down!

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Free! Little Black Dress Pattern Inspired by Hepburn & Givenchy

Elaine, otherwise known by the moniker of The Selfish Seamstress, says that she loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. What a greedy gal! Although she likes to swagger and say that she is tough as nails, we don’t think she is as selfish as all that; look at this free downloadable PDF sewing pattern she has on her blog! She says, “This is a pattern for a dress inspired by Hubert de Givenchy’s gown worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s….. The dress is a lined sheath with armhole princess seams on the front bodice, darted skirt, darted back, and side invisible zipper.” We adore the elegant back, with its unique cut-out shaping that mimics swooping butterfly wings, and know the perfect black stretch wool tricotine it sew it in!

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Using Antique Patterns – Men’s Outing Shirt

We love how Andrea at Unsung Sewing Patterns: an archeology of home sewing reconstructed this 1898 men’s shirt pattern in tracing paper, and then stitched it up in working person’s blue chambray. She used Cosmopolitan Fashion Company 655 – Men’s Outing Shirt for this fascinating glimpse into the world of antique commercial sewing patterns. Typical for patterns of this era, it came with minimal instructions. I adore the hip gussets; they add a wonderful detailed touch!

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Make a Chic Birdcage Veiling Hat!


Amber and Brandi of Hip Hostess, and our hostess’ with the mostest created a cunning bridal birdcage veil…and then graciously shared the tutorial! This confection is fashioned with Russian veiling, silk organza and feathers. You could just as easily make this millinery bon mot for other occasions; it would be a chic chapeau in dove grey netting, with black feathers and a gleaming silvery silk flower……perfect to wear to the opera!

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Drafting a Pencil Skirt Pattern


Jessie from Some Things I Have Made created a four part tutorial on drafting a bespoke pencil skirt pattern, including a très chic French back vent. Once you’ve drafted this, you will have a pattern exactly unique to your charming curves! This style is perfect made up in nubby fall wool tweed. Jessie says, “It’s not that hard! Really. While a circle or A-line four-gore skirt may be simpler to fit, the classic pencil skirt is just as easy to construct, especially when you know it inside and out because you’ve drafted the pattern yourself. Furthermore, it’s a great one to make yourself because it’s so fitted–why wrestle with a pattern made for somebody else’s smaller hips and bigger butt when you can take careful measurements and make one that fits you perfectly? This pattern is unlined–I just wear a slip with mine and wash the slip instead.”

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Sew a Shirred Summer Frock!

Whew! We are grateful that we live in San Francisco, where fog and chilliness are the summer norm….but it is the dog days of summer everywhere else. Charity over at IndieTutes has a lovely tutorial on making a shirred (not shaken!) top or dress from a length of lightweight cotton fabric. These breezy garments are perfect for hot humid days, so mix up a pitcher of icy lemonade, set up your sewing machine with some elastic thread, and whip up a summery frock!

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Make Baby High Tops!

Ahoy, matey! Aimee at Homespun-threads made a PDF tutorial for these super adorable baby high-top shoes out of scraps of fabric from her fabric stash. These would be fetching made up on gingham and chambray, or even silk (for the wee-est member of the wedding)

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