I started sewing from the need to repair or alter vintage dresses. You know the story, weird sleeves, too long or too short hemlines, too boxy, a moth-hole ridden tragedy on top attached to a dream dress on the bottom. Among all these dusty alterations and time spent fixing things, I soon found that making my own dresses solved a lot of my vintage problems. So, one day, I took the subway train to Target in Queens (too intimidated at the time to enter a store in the Garment district) and bought a little 10 stitch machine that I lugged all the way back to Brooklyn.
Next, I purchased my first vintage 1940s dress pattern from Etsy along with a few yard of the cheapest fabric I could find. Little did I know that deciphering the cryptic and complicated patterns from the 40s was not so simple. It wasn’t even sure if the patterns were complete let alone where the seam allowance was! What was the proper seam allowance, was it standard, did it change from brand to brand?! I spent two whole evenings after my work (as a secretary), just trying to understand the front bodice portion. I somehow made two right sides, but if you knew me, something like that was expected. I took it apart, started over, and ended up to my surprise with a dress.
After learning to draft and drape my own patterns and a lot of hours at the machine, when I go back to these vintage patters, I know exactly what they are talking about, but if you didn't already know these techniques, its not so clear from the punctuated descriptions. This is because women already knew how to sew growing up. So, for those of learning as adults, we need a little crash course here and there.
I am teaming up with BurdaStyle to teach a sewing seminar: Vintage Sewing Techniques
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
• A better cutting method for silks
• How to mark your fabric for the most accurate sewing
• More options for finishing seams
• How to use buttons and button hole techniques to create a more couture look
• How to add basic embroidery and appliqué details to your garment
I hope to see you there on Monday! xoxo