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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

Free 1930s Magic Bias Slip Tutorial

By turns slinky….and then elegant, sometimes we just want to go crazy and cut everything on the bias! Here are directions from Fashion Service magazine (August 1931, pg. 14) for a 1930s Magic Bias Slip: “Falling into the lines of each individual figure as if by magic, this slip, ultra modern because of its bias cut, is a perfect foundation under fitted frocks. And it’s as fascinating to work out as a picture puzzle, built up, as it is, from squares and triangles of fabric.” This is brought to us by James, costumier and archivist from Dressmaking Research. He says, “Now I read meticulously for any mention of cut and construction, illustrated or not, to expand the information in my archive.  Over the years I have learned a great deal from primary source materials. For example, images and information on petticoats and understructures fascinate me because I believe they are the “key” to a silhouette. The diagrams I have found pertaining to Capes, Cloaks, Mantles, and similar garments are enthralling in their ingenuity and simplicity.” We greatly admire his dedication to preserving and maintaining this fabulous educational archive for us. Hint: Make one of silk fabric for a chic yet airy summertime frock!

 

Posted: Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Free 1920s Vintage Sewing Booklet

Jazz Age novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald stars the beautifully glamorous Daisy and the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. With the recent release of the film, The Great Gatsby, we’re spending this summer dreaming of silk frocks, twilight lawn parties, dapper tuxedos, and fountains of champagne.  Vintage Sewing Reference Library  has a wonderful collection of sewing books online, including 1926—The New-Way Course in Fashionable Clothes-Making Correspondence course; it is lavishly illustrated and comes with complete instructions for learning the art of clothes-making. Includes 56+ lessons covering everything you could want to know about sewing in the 1920′s from basic stitches to opening your own dress shop.

Posted: Sewing Techniques
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Tips: Successful Sewing with Silks – Draped Cocoon Dress

I’m excited to join Britex Fabrics as a guest blogger starting this summer. As a San Francisco native, I’ve been shopping at Britex ever since middle school – even before I could sew – and I also had my West Coast book launch party there last December.

In addition to being a fashion designer, I also teach sewing, patternmaking, and draping classes in New York and beyond. I often run across students who are intimidated to sew with silk (and I don’t blame them!). In my inaugural post, I’m going to share some tips on working with silk as I walk you through the process of creating one of my dress designs – a lightweight draped cocoon dress that works great for hot New York summers, but that can also be paired with opaque tights when the temperature drops. Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Free Pleated Skirt Pattern & Tutorial

Inspired by a Kate Spade frock, Melissa from the blog, Melissa Esplin made this easy-peasy tutorial and pattern for a pleated skirt. We love pleated skirts and this one is dramatically classic, with six pleats – three pleats in the front and three in back. Make it in this charming cotton print - strewn with softly delineated flowers on a khaki background and with a watercolor delicate feel.

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Tutorial: Working with Plaid—Man’s Shirt

When I discovered the beautiful and vintage-y modern plaid at Britex, I knew I had found the fabric for which I had been searching.  I had in mind a short sleeve button-up shirt for my husband, but wanted something different than classic dress shirting.  This fab plaid completely fit the bill!   However, once I laid out the fabric and went to cut out my pattern, I realized I had a big challenge ahead of me.  Plaid.  Matching plaid is one issue; deciding in which direction the plaid should be arranged and the overall layout was the other.  Should the plaid on the yoke be diagonal?  If the yoke is on the straight grain, could the pockets be diagonal?  What about the placket??  I was completely paralyzed by indecision for a while, but after looking at some ready-to-wear men’s tops, I opted to go for a straight-laced version with no diagonally arranged plaid pieces.  Really working the 70s vibe of the fabric might look great, but I wanted to be sure my husband would actually wear the shirt!

Click here to read more »

Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Super Messenger Bag Tutorial

Papa’s got a brand new bag! Aleah from the blog NoTimeToSew made this nifty messenger bag tutorial with a three panel front and an interior zipper pocket.  We love the Japanese cotton linen blend that she used, but think it would be equally fabulous in wool; a little bird told us that our favorite dandy, Monsieur Du Jour, longs for this sewn in classic heathered grey wool flannel.

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Interfacing, Interlining, Underlining, and Lining—Knowing the Difference

The world of linings and interlinings can sometimes be mysterious, and because of that, can often be an afterthought. That’s why, when our POP-UP Britex sponsor Apparel Arts ran an article explaining the differences between these unique layers, we asked if we could share it on the Britex Blog. Read on and let us know if you found it helpful!

Click here to read more »

Posted: Classes, Events & Shows, Fashion Tips, Organizations, POP-UP Britex, Sewing & Craft Groups, Sewing Techniques
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Silk Organza – The Perfect Addition to Any Sewing Room

Hello everyone!  I am back with a new vintage dress and an underlining tutorial. Along with this yummy fuchsia chenille, I received a length of silk organza for this project.

Silk organza really is a miracle fabric, in my opinion.  It is crisp, lightweight, and can perform so many different functions.  First off, it makes truly beautiful garments, especially when embroidered.  At the other end of the spectrum, it can make an excellent press cloth.  Tear it into strips, and it can help to stabilize a zipper opening.  I even substitute organza for fusible interfacing on facings.  I could go on and on, but perhaps I should get back on point!

Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Fashion Tips, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Make a Pressing & Sleeve Board

As we all know, pressing as you sew is tantamount with heirloom and couture garment construction. Sewing blogtress, Kaitui Kiwi of The Curious Kiwi from Wellington, New Zealand posted this power tool heavy tutorial for making that most coveted of pressing equipment, a pressing and sleeve board. Sigh – what a lovely tool!

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Make a Shirt for Your Favorite Dude

Father’s day is June 16th, which we see as an occasion to brush up on our oft neglected sewing-for-dudes skills. Tasia from Vancouver, Canada, and proprietress of the blog, Sewaholic produced this timely tutorial on making a fitting muslin for a men’s shirt, and then goes on to explain the process in which she alters the collar stand for a huskier neck.  Although she used a McCaLLS pattern, we’re enamored with the Negroni Shirt by Colette; a slightly retro shirt with a more modern cut. The Colette instructions and booklet guide you gently through every step of creating a well-crafted casual shirt: felled seams, a lined back yoke, and sleeve plackets on the long sleeve version. Why not make two shirts – one in delicious party mint pink organic cotton , and the other in ride-em-cowboy county fair blue gingham?

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