So you're ready to tackle your first vintage sewing project and you've selected a pattern "to die for"-not hard considering most vintage sewing patterns are utterly fabulous!
Consider these tips if you're new to sewing or new to vintage sewing:
Vintage patterns come in two varieties: printed and unprinted.
Printed vintage patterns contain pattern markings printed directly on the pattern piece tissues. Unprinted patterns instead include what are called perforations-cut outs shaped in circles, triangles and squares, typically, which represent common pattern markings just as seam lines and darts.
If you're new to sewing with a vintage pattern-your first perforated pattern may come as a shock to you. Not because they're more difficult to work with, but because you may simply be perplexed and say to yourself "this pattern is just plain tissue. WHERE are the pattern markings?”
No fear. No worries. No need to go into panic attack. You'll just get to know your pattern better and become a more competent sewer in the long run. What can be better than that?
Finally, if you're new to sewing consider using a pattern that's easy to sew; generally one with fewer pieces and less style accents (zippers and set-in sleeves, for example).
Invest in a quality vintage sewing book. They're a wealth of knowledge! Really. Vintage sewing books are an invaluable source in helping navigate through some of the old-school terms you might come across while sewing vintage. Plus, they're a treasured read. You'll enjoy the beautiful collectibles just because.
Read the envelope and the instruction sheet and pattern guide in its entirety. Doing so aids in making your sewing project go much easier. The instruction sheet and envelope often contains very valuable information (seam allowance, number of pattern pieces, special notions required) and in the case of very old patterns-the actual instructions needed in making the garment. Lastly, don't skip any steps. All of the information provided with the pattern is useful and each step in the construction of the garment is important.
CARING FOR PATTERN PIECES
Check to make sure all of the pattern pieces are present and correct. Many vintage sewing patterns have already been used by the original owner or by someone along the pattern's long life on occasion pieces may not be present, be homemade or mistakenly replaced by pieces from another pattern.
Look on the back of the envelope or instruction sheet and make sure you have what you need against what's included in the pattern. I suggest ironing the pattern pieces, completing any necessary repairs, protecting the pattern and later storing the pattern properly. If you're working with a perforated pattern it's a good idea to write the name, pattern number and letter of the pattern piece on the envelope.
CONSTRUCT A MUSLIN (or TOILE)
A toile is a mock-up of a garment-usually in an inexpensive material of or about the same weight as will be the final garment. Although requiring a bit more time making a toile (or muslin) is the easiest way to ensure that the garment fits properly before it is cut out onto the final fashion fabric because fitting and alteration issues are addressed and applied to the muslin initially and corrected on the pattern. Also getting into the routine of making a muslin (just as fashion designer do routinely) goes a long way in making you a skilled seamstress or tailor.
Stay Vintagely Inspired
Copyright 2012 Calandra D. Ferguson. All Rights Reserved.
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