Historical Fashion

Clothing that makes history

Custom clothing and costuming for cosplayers, dancers and anyone who wants to be able to move in their clothes - and still look great. Want the style but can't make it or find it? Tired of clothes that don't fit or fall apart? Historical Fashion will work with you to design and sew the garments you imagine.

We specialize in imaginative clothing & costumes for hard to fit women. Special occasion dresses. Historical costumes. Cosplay. Dancewear. Everything is sewn in the USA and custom made to fit YOU!

We've Moved

 

The lease on our studio in North Olmsted was up, and we decided to cut the overhead and move home. Chaos has ensued! But we are back up and running in the basement.

We added a new entrance and client space to the house and hauled everything home from our much larger space. The good news is that clients have a spot to sit down and talk AND try on clothes that is NOT the cold basement! Long time clients will remember that experience with a shiver or two.

Bad news - the work area is jammed so tight that it takes forever to find things. We're slowly making headway, sandwiching organizing in between deadlines and con preparation.

Since the location is now my residence, I am not publishing the address. If you haven't visited us before, contact us by email or phone to make an appointment and get directions. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Busy, Busy, BUSY!

I completely missed posting about Cleveland Concoction due to a huge influx of business. Which is both blessing and curse. To all the fantastic folks we met at the con - Thanks for making our first experience as vendors a fun and educational experience. To the con staff - Great job organizing! I'm sure the snafu with the light switches will be fixed by next year. We will be back.

There's one solid customer already - an SCA Benedictine Monk - and a strong probability of a Bar Fleet uniform. On deck - A 30s-style Riddler tuxedo, my dress for my son's wedding (There will be additional stories about that!), a summer wardrobe in linen and Japanese cotton, and try-on samples of some new items for Matsuricon.

Now back to the length of crepe-backed satin that has been hanging out on my cutting table for the last 2 days. Perhaps today will be the day it migrates to the sewing machine. 

Finally, a little shameless self-promotion. Time to add to your stash or pick up some of those notions you need - Craftsy has a flash sale this weekend! 60% off supplies & kits. Shop through my link and I get some pocket change. 

Ohayocon 2015 Wrap Up - Cosplay Repair

I hope all of you who attended Ohayocon this year got home safe and are warm and cozy. Last year's rotten traveling conditions came back to plague us, but it didn't seem to damper too much of the fun.

Thanks to everyone who visited the Cosplay Repair Area and Cosplay Gallery. We had a blast meeting all of you and helping out as many as we possibly could. Your enthusiasm in the halls and hotels brought us tons of new "customers!" Our growth was exponential this year, which is both good and bad.

For anyone who had to wait or got lost in the crowd, our deepest apologies. We didn't deliberately ignore anyone, but faces got lost in the jostle and crush. It's only Katie and me. And since I also judge craftsmanship, that left Katie on her own Friday night and all of Saturday. We are already working on a plan for better crowd control to keep things moving along next year.

We especially appreciate all the people who took time to help others with their repairs when our hands weren't free. We enthusiastically welcome your input and extra hands. You glued while others held, provided advice, suggested new products and generally stepped up to be of service. This is why we love the cosplay community!

Our service is not sponsored or supported by Ohayocon other than the fact that Live Events allows us to set up and operate in the Cosplay Gallery. We are not staff. I am considered a panelist because of judging, so I do get a badge. That is the extent of Ohayocon's contribution.

We pay our own room, board and transportation, and purchase Katie's badge. In addition, we supply all the materials and equipment used. This year, we burned out a glue gun and nearly had to send our best sewing machine out for repairs. We broke 8 needles, gave away hundreds of safety pins and some bobby pins, used up a tube of E6000, 3 tubes of super glue, and 3 50-count bags of glue sticks. Your generous donations helped to finance a 2 a.m. run to the store for additional supplies. Your great suggestions have added a number of things to our list to bring for next year.

I'm not complaining about the expense, I just thought you all should know how the repair table operates. We love being able to provide the services that put smiles on your faces because we saved you a trip back to your room, kept you from tripping over your costume, rescued your modesty (Yes, we did repair the crotch in a pair of jeans.), or held your cosplay together for just a few more hours.

If you weren't able to donate and still want to, there's a donation link below and one on the events page down in the past events section. And if you'd like to go shopping for some of the items we had on hand,  our Made to Measure Shop is up and running. If you're looking for more customized items or commissions, send email to barbara@historicalfashion.com or katie.historicalfashion.gmail.com.

Once again, thanks to all of you. We hope to see you next year!

Donate

Three Simple Sewing Machine Hints

I am constantly amazed by tiny things that make a huge difference. Here are 3 to decrease sewing machine frustration.

  1. Change your needles often. I usually change with each project. Not only should you be using the correct needle for your fabric; you need a fresh needle. Bad needles cause countless problems, including snarls, sluggish sewing and damaged fabric. Small things affect your needles. Sewing polyester creates tiny burrs on the needle. Pushing through thick fabric or multiple layers can bend the needle. And let's not talk about what happens when you nick a pin.
  2. Stop with the takeup lever in the highest position. This makes sure your needle & bobbin threads are in the correct orientation to be pulled out of the machine. If you can't see your takeup lever, the top of the path is when your needle is in the highest position. Easy, but so important for avoiding snarls and messing up your tension.
  3. If it makes a funny noise, STOP! I've done it. Powered through that strange noise. It takes a lot of determination to break the habit, especially when you're in a hurry. The funny noise is telling you something's wrong. Ignoring it only causes trouble. You can damage fabric and seriously mess up your machine. Just STOP!

And on another note, Craftsy has a holiday gift for you. Starting today and running until December 24th, all classes are up to 50% off. Give yourself a gift or buy a class for a Crafty friend!

Craftsy

Craftsy Black Friday - All Classes $19.99 and Under!!!

I am a great fan of the Craftsy platform for learning about sewing, and I'm sure that the other classes - knitting and cake decorating and quilting and painting and you-name-it - are just as good. High production values, good customer service and lifetime access are other reasons to choose Craftsy. I haven't bought any of the yarn or fabric; but it's on sale,too.

Time to go shopping. And remember, Craftsy classes make great gifts for your like-minded friends and relatives.

Craftsy

Three Tricks to Make Your Hand-Sewing Easier

It takes a while to accumulate tricks of the trade. Here are three I've picked up over the past couple of years that have saved me considerable time and stress.

1. Struggling with threading that needle? Eyes bugging out trying to get the thread through the eye? I'll bet you're holding that needle up and poking the thread in the direction of the hole. You may even be licking the thread to smooth the ends in the hopes of making your task easier. That's the way my mama taught me to thread a needle. It wasn't until I acquired eyes of a certain age that I found this trick - Hold the thread still and move the eye of the needle over it. That's it! You may find it helpful to hold the thread so just a tiny bit peeks out between your thumb and forefinger. Go give that a try.

2. Tired of those little tags of thread hanging out of your finished stitching? I was always sure all my work would come undone if I didn't leave a long enough thread after my knot. Neaten up the back of your work by hiding your knots. Secure your thread the way you normally would - a figure-8 knot or a couple of backstitches. Now, don't clip the thread. Put the needle in right next to your knot and push through the seam allowance or into an inconspicuous area. Bring the needle out 1/4" to 1/2" away. Tug gently to shorten the thread you're going to leave behind and encourage the knot to sink into the fabric. Clip close to the fabric and smooth away the small pucker. Voila! No loose ends!

3. Tired hands from all that basting and thread tracing? (This is really for the couture geeks, but it does apply to the rest of you.) This trick requires some practice and determination, but the accuracy and relief for tired, cramped hands is well worth the effort. First - Lay the fabric on a solid surface, not your lap. This was a hard habit for me to develop. I've always been a lap person. Now for the crazy part. I'll bet you're holding the fabric still in your left hand and moving the needle up and down with your right as you push through the fabric. Reverse the process. Hold the needle still and control the fabric with your left hand, using the right only to push the needle through the accumulated stitches and pull up the thread. Your control and accuracy will improve dramatically. And your right hand will thank you.

Steampunk Jacket Update & Flash Sale at Craftsy

For today only, there's a huge sale at Craftsy. I'm putting up the banner that they say will update today. I don't know what's on sale; but they promise it will be terrific.

Meanwhile, the race to the Grand Opening continues. I'm picking up a huge mirror for the fitting area today, meeting with my event planner tomorrow and moving the last of the stuff essential for the party on Sunday. I continue to work on the Steampunk jacket.

Even though this is "only an unlined jacket," you know I can't resist those extra flourishes. Rather than go straight from moulage to pattern to fashion fabric, I opted to add a muslin of the jacket at my own expense. The customer was tough to fit and I wanted to make a few design tweaks that had to be done on her body. Muslin fitting went great! I made some minor changes to the angle of the princess seam in front, set up the collar the way I wanted it and placed the pocket.

I've drawn the sleeve and am ready to try it in the new armhole. Then cutting & basting the real fabric for a quick try before the final stitching. Right now, my camera doesn't talk directly to my computer, so I have to take several steps to get pictures published. There will be pictures! I promise!

Here's the Craftsy Sale:


Craftsy

Why I've Been Away So Long - Great News!

It's been quite a while since my last entry, mostly because I promised myself that this would not become only a place to put my Craftsy links. There will be a couple of irresistible ones down at the bottom of this post,though.

On to the great news. Historical Fashion by Barbara Anne is moving out of the basement and into the world of commerce. We've been working our tails off getting my new studio space ready for the public eye. It's been an adventure - from replacing outdated light fixtures to laying a (supposedly) easy wood laminate floor. Did that twice because the directions didn't include the helpful hint about how to get the boards to engage properly.

The walls are painted, the curtains are hung, the floor is finished, my incredible cutting table is in place and the tools and equipment are starting to migrate. There's even a beautiful sign on the door. Meanwhile, I'm trying to keep up a hellish schedule for Halloween and Ohayocon. And to top it off, I've been asked to judge a cosplay workmanship competition in a couple of weeks!

Nonetheless, the Grand Opening is scheduled and the first wave of invitations has gone out to my Facebook friends. Google contacts are next in line. Then flyers at local businesses and passed out by friends and associates. If you're reading this blog and you are within reasonable driving distance of North Olmsted, Ohio, I'd love to see you there!

Join us Saturday, November 9, between the hours of 11 AM and 8 PM for an Open House celebrating the opening of Historical Fashion by Barbara Anne's new location. There will be refreshments, studio tours, in-process and finished work to look at, a prize drawing and special offers. We invited current customers to attend in Historical Fashion clothing, so a fashion show is possible.

Special Guests include RTD Design Collective presenting their newest jewelry offerings and VCW Concepts, a videography, photography and digital transfer service. Historical Fashion shares space with VCW and will be offering courtesy discounts for the occasion.

We are located at 23792 Lorain Road in North Olmsted, Ohio with easy access from I-480 and I-90. If you are interested in attending, leave a comment and I will get back to you with better directions. Google Maps will not be descriptive enough.

I look forward to seeing you!

Craftsy links follow - FREE CLASSES and one I just have to take - Vintage Sewing Techniques!




Vintage Sewing: The Flirty Day Dress with Laura Nash

I'm Approved!!

Are you ever stumped by a certain technique? Do you ever want to branch out from one craft to another or just improve your skills? I suggest trying Craftsy classes. I am impressed by the high quality streaming videos, the interaction with teachers and other students, the impressive course materials and the lifetime access to your classes. One fee and you have the class forever!

Historical Fashion just became a Craftsy Affiliate. I'm excited to be able to share with you everything Craftsy has to offer and give you a chance to enroll in fantastic classes. Look for my capsule reviews of specific classes from time to time along with links for you to join me in class.

Support Small Business. Click through the Craftsy links here to give Historical Fashion a commission at no cost to you!

So far, I've completed Shoot It, Jean-ious, and Plus-Size Pattern Fitting and Design. In-process - Pant Fitting Techniques. In addition to great classes, the customer service can't be beat. If you're not a member already, joining is easy and free. Plus, they offer free classes and promotions, all of which will be available here.

Got questions? Leave me a comment and I'll get an answer for you.

Happy Crafting!

The Lady in Red - Pictures at last!

It took a long time, but I finally have some photos of the red bridesmaids dress. The dash to the finish was sheer craziness. After 3 days in the hospital, my exhausted client came to pick up her dress and didn't have her "support system" with her. She had come straight from a long day of blood tests and forgotten the bra. She left without trying the dress on, hence we do have a few small tweaks to take care of.
Back - Sheer upper back with self-bound slit
It was late, and I was getting ready to put the fastener at the back neck opening. She wanted to go home. She said, just grab whatever you can get to the quickest. Now I had wanted to do a covered button and loop. Fastest was a hook and eye. That will be replaced as it kept popping open all evening.

The photo below shows the asymmetrical drape with its black satin rose. It added some accent color in addition to the shoulders. She and I came up with the flower at the same time. As you can see, I need to at least double the size to be in scale with the woman in the dress. She also discovered that we need to secure the drape a bit forward of the side seam so that it will be visible when her arms are at her sides.

Side view showing satin rose






Since the wedding, she has worn the dress twice more and loved it each time. However, the chiffon has done what fabric will do when there is bias involved. It stretched unevenly. Note the extra-long left side of the handkerchief hem. Now that the dress has hung out a bit, I'm going to correct the hem.
 
At the wedding
After the wedding, I got a message on my voice mail that started out with her saying she had something bad and something really, really good to tell me. Bad turned out to be the hook and eye that kept letting go and a tiny bit of seam that let go due to picking up and swinging a small child. Good was her going on and on about how much she loves the dress and that she wants at least 2 more in different colors. Best? One of the guests, a future bride, wanted to know where she got her dress. Now there are 3 bridesmaids, a matron of honor and maybe even a bridal gown to do by the beginning of February!
 
I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with 4 different body types. My objective is for each of the women to be as thrilled with her dress as my beautiful Lady in Red!
 
 
 
 
 







March Madness - The Red Bridesmaid's Dress

Remember way back in February when I posted the sketches of that bridesmaid's dress and promised updates? Between my lovely vacation and the huge crush to finish the dress on time, I haven't been able to touch anything other than sewing tools for the last month! (Not to mention being ill twice in the middle of all that.) The dress would not have required crunch time if it had stayed on the original schedule. My client told me the wedding was a week later than it actually was about 2 weeks ago. My April 11 deadline became the wedding date! And my nights and weekends vanished into a pile of red stretch satin, chiffon and tissue paper.

I ended up doing dress #1. The cationic chiffon, which was really beautiful fabric, was too black. Back to the shopping for fabric. We settled on a red stretch satin and chiffon from Sy Fabrics. I also got some black crepe-back satin for the trim. I did my math based on a lovely Goth skirt tutorial from Antimony and Lace. Figuring on 3 layers of chiffon for the skirt plus bodice & sleeves I came up with 10 yards of 45" chiffon. I placed the order, sat back and looked at my calculations once more. Then I called them & added another 10 yards of chiffon!

Starting with a moulange a la Kenneth King, I drafted a tight, princess seamed bodice to serve as the understructure for the dress. His "Birth of a Bustier" was my handbook for the pattern draft. My test garment became the inner layer of the bodice. The skirt was a simple A-line with a bit of ease added for comfort and drape. I wasn't going for a pencil dress.

A couple of fittings and many layers later, I had a workroom full of chiffon pieces and a basted-together satin dress to go underneath the chiffon. That brings me up to last night's final fitting. One little tweak over the bustline, one little tuck in the back and shortening the bone at center front will yield a strapless bodice with perfect fit. I tried the first layer of skirt and we adjusted the length a bit.

Then the fun began. I do love draping! We played around with the bodice chiffon until we got the perfect look, which turned out not to be the sketch. Rather than ending the drape at the waistline, we continued it down as a loose, scarf-like line on one side. We ditched the black sash in favor of the scarf and added a black satin rose at the waistline. We also changed the yoke at the neckline to black satin and added a line of black piping across the top of the bodice. The upper back is one layer of chiffon and the sleeves got re-designed to echo the handkerchief skirt.

The very best thing about last night? My client looked in the mirror and said, "Hey! I don't look like a tube of lipstick. I have a waist. I don't look frumpy. I've never had a dress I didn't look frumpy in!" And that is why I love making custom clothing. The bright smile when someone looks in the mirror and sees that they really are beautiful! More on that later. That thought inspires a whole post of it's own.

Dress gets delivered Monday. Look for pictures soon after!

Some Advice for Brides & Bridesmaids

This is short and sweet. If the shop you bought your dress from had to order your dress, do not sign that you picked it up until you try it on! I am encountering more brides and bridesmaids who need alterations because their dresses were sized incorrectly. Several people I know have signed the reciept, taken their gowns home, tried them on and found out that the gowns wouldn't zip up completely.

Once you sign that receipt, all alterations are at your expense. If you try the dress on before you sign and the dress is the wrong size, you can ask for a replacement. This does not include alterations to make a correctly sized dress fit your figure properly. This is for the cases where the dress is obviously the wrong size. You can't zip it up or you swim in it. And don't let them blame it on weight gain or wearing the wrong bra to stick you with the cost of alterations.

Chain-store bridal shops often make the bulk of their money through alterations. I think that's one of the reasons they can sell at such low prices.

Let the buyer beware. Try it on before you sign! Or just get a custom-made dress.

Vacation Challenge - Weeks 2 & 3 complete

The beautiful knit dress is finished. It hangs so softly and drapes so well. I'm proud that my first effort with this difficult fabric came out so well. Thank you, again, Sarah Veblen! I'm looking forward to wearing this on my soon-to-begin vacation, my first in 2 years. What I learned in the process of putting this dress together is that the fabric you make your test garment out of should have about the same stretch as your fashion fabric. My test fabric was not so stretchy, and I found that the dress grew a bit as I sewed it. My alterations in the back worked out well. Moving the two bodice pieces closer together got  me some more back coverage, which was exactly what I had in mind. And because I didn't add on to the outside edges what I took from the middle, it also succeeded in tightening up the dress, which really helped due to the "growth factor."
I am looking forward to sewing more with jersy single knits. Now that I know a bit more about their behavior, I'll be willing to feature them as choices for t-shirts and simple dresses for my sewing business.

Week 3 took a bit of doing.  After many hours of trying to coax my serger into making the decorative edge, I had to surrender. I will spend some time perfecting this technique after vacation. I broke down, went to the fabric store, and bought bias binding. The wrong size of bias binding! I ended up cutting my own from a lovely printed burn-out I had in the stash. It was so pretty I decided to do an exposed binding to show it off.

You can see the binding at the cuffs and bottom edge. It disappears where the lapel rolls. I couldn't quite figure out how to make a smooth transition at that point. There are a lot of fabric layers to deal with where the bottom edge of the collar turns back.

I found an issue with the pattern design when I rolled the cuffs back as the illustration shows. The seaming for the sleeve pleat shows and just looks tacky. I added rectangles of the binding fabric both to cover and to keep the sleeves turned up. There are buttons sewn on to keep the tabs in place.

My husband picked the front button out of my mom's old button box. It's probably older than I am, which makes it an antique button! The cuff buttons also came from that box and are miraculously color-coordinated.

I feel the need to digress about my mom's button box. This wonderful woman learned to sew on a treadle machine. She lived through the Great Depression and the rationing of World War II. The button box is a classic demonstration of that background. There are tons of men's shirt buttons, cut from my dad's shirts when they could no longer be repaired and went off to the rag man. Ditto for teeny-tiny buttons removed from baby clothes and doll clothes. At one point, she even tried to put them into matching sets by tying bunches together with thread. All the single buttons left over when the sewing project needed 3 buttons and the button card had sets of 2. Buttons cut from robes and coats. I think the big orange button was a robe button. Decorative buttons from sweaters and dresses went into the box. I am blessed to have this collection from my mom, but I don't hesitate to use the buttons. She would have!

Vacation Challenge - Week Three begins

I'm counting days until vacation now. "And the number of the counting shall be 10." Week Three is off to a great start. I found some off-white linen-look cotton poly fabric in the bottom of a pile. It was just enough to make the short version of L.J. Designs Versa Jacket. I've had this pattern for years. Got it before I had a serger, so that tells you how old it is.

It's only 3 pattern pieces and my roadblock is the "decorative serged edge." At this point, perhaps the bias binding would have been a better choice. Because of the way the jacket is constructed, the decorative edge requires changing serger settings and threads at least four times. I found a beautiful, shiny, heavy-weight thread in the same color family to use for the upper looper and fiddled around until I got the look I liked. Then I changed thread and settings for regular sewing. The second time I set up the decorative stitching, the identical settings did not produce the same results. That's where I quit for the evening. There will be more work tonight. That bias binding just might be in my future!

Vacation Challenge - Week Two

Week Two is complete and on schedule, now that I've shifted completion day to Monday. My usual photographer is out of town, so I don't have a finished picture yet, but I am amazed at how beautifully the fabric drapes. I will add the picture as soon as I have it.

I checked out the reviews from Pattern Review before starting the dress. There didn't appear to be too many that used the cap sleeve view, so I forged ahead. My one grumble is that the patten description should have mentioned that this view has forward shoulder seams. I caught that in the illustration long after my alterations had been completed. Marking the natural waist on the pattern would also have helped. C'mon, Simplicity! Get with the program!

What changes did I make? According to my moulange, I needed to lengthen the back and the front by 1 1/2 inches; and the front by another 2 inches! That should have alerted me to the forward shoulder seam in the design, but it didn't.

I decided to split the first set of adjustments (the 1 1/2 inches) between the bodice top and the midriff piece. I redrew the back shoulder slope to match my moulange, but I was hesitant with the front as it would have taken about 2 inches out of the armhole. I made a muslin of the bodice, tried it on and decided to split the difference on the front shoulder slope, changing the angle by 1 inch instead of 2.

I changed the location of the center back so I would get more overlap for a bit better coverage. I want to be able to wear a normal bra with this dress! When I tried on the muslin, I discovered I also had to take about 2 inches out of the back midriff piece. I transferred the alterations to my pattern and started the layout and cutting process.

I did some test seam finishes with both my regular machine and my serger and I tried out my Vilene stay tape on a bias edge to see how it would feel when finished. Once I was familiar with my fabric, I was ready to go. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to know how your fabric is going to behave under the needle and under the iron before you begin. You will save yourself a ton of frustration if you play with the fabric ahead of time. Also try out buttonholes, zipper installation, and any new techniques.

This was my first experience with a single knit jersey and you can color me impressed. What a beautiful drape! It all comes from buying quality fabric. On to construction - as Sarah Veblen said, it did take just as much time to grain the fabric as it did to sew. Her Slippery & Drapey Fabric class on Pattern Review was a lifesaver. I never would have thought of patting the fabric into place rather than scooting it!

I added a couple of tweaks during construction that you don't find in most commercial patterns. I stabilized the neckline edges with Vilene bias stay tape cut slightly shorter than the edge and I added a strip of clear elastic to the shouder seams, also cut a smidge shorter than the actual seam. I used my serger to apply the elastic strip. I think a tutorial on that process is in my future. Tricky, but really helpful! I'm also leaving the hem unfinished. I like the way the dress hangs without the added weight of a hem.

What would I do differently? In addition to the Vilene, I would add a piece of clear elastic to the neck edge to snug it up against my chest even more. I would not serge the shoulder seams. The tight gathering wants to creep away from the needle and I haven't mastered the technique for keeping it in place yet.

All in all, a great experience!

Vacation Challenge - Week One complete

It took until 11 PM Monday, but the top is finished - almost. I discovered when I tried it on that the ruffle is heavy and wants to pull the back neckline down. This makes the back opening gape. I'll be adding a second closure to the back to help that problem a bit. I also need to sew the waistline elastic. At the moment it's using the yo-yo dieter's best friend - the safety pin.

I don't have a lot of in-process photos of the top to share. I was too eager to get it finished on time. Before I started, I traced the size pattern I was using onto tissue. I knew I'd be making alterations and didn't want to ruin the original pattern. That way I can always go back to the drawing board.

I used Lynda Maynard's alteration technique. It was a bit confusing at first, but once I got the idea, the adjustments went well. One thing I did differently was laying my tissue pattern on top of my moulange. I think it's much easier than lifting up the plastic moulange to make changes. Careful measurement showed me I needed to lengthen the pattern above the waist by 1/2 inch and change the angle of the shoulders.Once I did that, I didn't need to move the darts at all. The  most common complaint about this pattern on Sewing Pattern Review is that the darts are too low. My length adjustment took care of that. The pattern has different front pieces for "B," "C" and "D" cups, so I didn't need to increase the bust at all.

With the adjustments made, I cut a trial top from similar fabric that had been in my stash forever, possibly inherited from my mom. Whipping it up quickly showed me I needed to narrow the shoulders by about 1/4 inch. They passed my shoulder point by enough that it might have looked like a cut on cap sleeve. I also discovered a case of the dreaded "butt Velcro." My top was hiking up in the back and would have settled itself somewhere around my waist eventually. I pinched out a tuck at center back, increasing the size until the back hung freely, and pinned that in.

To transfer the change to my pattern, I split the tissue horizontally just below the waist from center back to the sideseam, being careful not to cut through the seamline. Then I measured the size of the tuck and raised the center back by that much, making a triangle that tapered to the seamline. It throws the center back off grain below the waist, but that little bit of bias adds some extra swing.

Because I shortened the back, I added the length back at the hemline by measuring down the tucked distance and making a gentle arc that tapered to the sideseam.

I took a bit of time placing the pattern on the fabric. I wanted the pattern to line up horizontally at the hemline. Because it's an all over pattern and quite busy, I didn't worry about trying to match center back. The match across the hemline came out as I anticipated it. The diamonds are not drifting up or down in relation to the hem. If your fabric has a definite geometric aspect, keeping the pattern straight around the hem will be most visually appealing.

As far as sewing goes, I mostly followed the pattern directions. I was skeptical of the armhole finish, but I did it the way the pattern recommended. I won't repeat that. Their directions make for a very bulky finish. I tried to remedy it by topstitching twice, but the edges still want to curl outwards. I will change that finish the next time I  make this top. It's a simple, versatile pattern - a wardrobe basic.

The End Result

©2007-2016 Historical Fashion by Barbara Anne