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

Category Archive: Projects

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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Cyanotype Print on Knit Items

Christina of MeadowLarking has an amazing tutorial on CraftZine, How-To: Cyanotype Print on Handknits and Crochet! This hand printing technique is uniquely suited for knit and crocheted items. We adore the wonderful effects one can achieve by varying the yarn color and design motifs! Perhaps you could make a collection on handmade potholders emblazoned with William Morris motifs…… or maybe baby sweaters adorned with vintage alphabet illustrations.

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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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Vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine Blog!


Sewing machine mechanic par excellence, Rain, blogs about refinishing, tuning, and repairing vintage all-metal Singer Featherweight sewing machines on his The Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog! Check out his specific information on models 15-91s, 201-2s, 206s, 221s and 222s, along with directions on such topics as how to remove and replace the rotating hook assembly, polishing the silver bits, and how to restore your stitch length indicator plate. These vintage machines are beauteous black enameled stitching workhorses!

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Designer Wool Felt is now at Britex’s Online Store!

Yea! Britex Fabrics now sells wool felt in our online store! Designers and craft-persons find our beautiful 3mm (1/8”) thick 100% wool felt a joy to work with. This pressed craft wool felt is durable and water repellent, with lovely rich vibrant heathered and non-heathered colors. This wool felt is perfect for craft and sewing projects including laptop and electronic device cases, potholders, coasters, floor mats, and soft toys. It is made in the USA, sold by the yard and 24” wide. We particularly like wool felt for Kindle, iPod, laptop and other electronic device cases….perhaps a heathered charcoal grey case with a cream-colored laptop case with embroidered gossiping squirrels (vintage transfer embroidery courtesy of Abigail)!

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Make an Ironing Board Cover & Pressing Methods

Sunni, from A Fashionable Stitch has a fantabulous assortment of sewing tips and tricks on her creation-obsessed sewing blog, including directions for making a dependable ironing board cover….and we all know that proper pressing is necessary for correct garment construction! As she so succinctly put it, she wanted “something that would last a good long while”, that would “use all natural fibers that would “breathe.”, and lastly “did not want that stupid drawstring thing, which does not really work unless the drawstring is encased in a casing along with elastic. Encasing a drawstring alone in a thread serged casing is AWFUL!!! The drawstring and casing has broken every time for me.” Well, the last wasn’t so succinct, but we agree nevertheless! And to work your new fancy-schmancy ironing board cover, here is Sunni’s method for ironing newly washed fabric in preparation for cutting and sewing.

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Sew Pocketed Kid’s Pants


The clever and creative Dana from Dana-Made-It, has posted a set of free tutorials for sewing children’s pants. We particularly like the fact that these trousers have flat front and lined versions, and include bodacious pockets…. humongous enough for a peanut butter sandwich, a rock collection, a handful of crayons, and with room to spare!

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Knit a Sweater for Ken®!

We heard that Peter sewer extraordinaire from MalePattenBoldness has a weakness for the ever iconic Ken® doll by Mattel. Here are some swingin’ free knit patterns fromClothes for Fashion Model Dolls (Hilda, 1963) for that handsome all-American dude, courtesy of the fabulous folks at VintageKnitting. We are particularly enamored of this bulky turtleneck pullover sweater, and would love to see it made up in a hip-tastic heathered charcoal grey yarn.

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Free Art Deco Monogram Patterns


We love monogram and font aficionados! Why not get a head start on hand-sewing holiday gifts? Embroider initials or a secret message on a beloved’s shirt cuffs, or personalize a set of luxurious new towels with Art Deco monograms. We adore the retro chopstick-inspired font on page 13, and the rose adorned letters on page 35! Monogrammes is a collection of charming monograms published by Cartier-Bresson in 1915. This pattern, along with a plethora of other free needlework instructions, is also available at The Antique Pattern Library.

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