Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sewing Tips for New Sewers - It's National Sewing Month!

September is National Sewing Month! Can't sew, you say?

It can be disheartening to be a beginner at anything. Your eyes and taste are far above your skill set. You want that killer bombshell cocktail dress. For beginners, many patterns are too difficult. Recognize that your ability is limited but will improve.

Nowadays we have the internet where many blogs, tutorials and sew-alongs are available.  Pattern companies also offer help - the last time I was at a pattern store, I noticed the Simplicity help sign. To start with, pick a simple project, such as a pillow. Back when girls had to take Home Ec, their project was an apron. Both are easy to make and you don't need a pattern.

Make it your goal to learn at least one new skill with your projects. If your pillow seams are not straight, practice again.  Each completed project will give you confidence to add a new skill. It can be discouraging at first. If you find yourself in over your head, don't give up. The old adage "practice makes perfect" truly does apply. You need to be realistic and accept some failures.

Use those failures as a stepping stone to your goal - that bombshell dress! Until you reach that level, select "Easy-to-Sew" patterns. Bear in mind that many, if not most, vintage patterns assumed our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew how to sew and to sew well. Beginning about 1950 - 1960, companies began to include more simplified instructions with more diagrams. Also, a great many vintage patterns are made of pre-cut, plain tissue with letters or piece names punched into each piece. This can be overwhelming to new sewer. Add this goal to your list.

I overhead an excellent tip at an estate sale recently. A mother and her teenage daughter were browsing the sewing items and the mom reached for a large bag of sewing notions. She turned to her daughter, who had an armload of fabric, and told her that she should use some of the zippers and oddly cut pieces of fabric as practice. What a thrifty idea - bags of sewing notions and fabric (usually not vintage) are easy to find at sales as well as at thrift stores and are generally low priced.

Fabric panels are often easy to sew. At back to school time, many early childhood teachers buy school-themed fabric and make chair covers for their students. These covers are rectangles and again, require no pattern. Seasonal panels are also available. Make a door decoration, wall hanging, banner or holiday pillow. As your skill improves, graduate to other panels. Christmas panels are already out at Hobby Lobby. Most of these contain easy to follow directions.

By taking incremental steps, you can teach yourself to sew. Think of it as going to school - you build on prior knowledge as you pass through the grades. Remember to use the vast resources of the internet to help you if you have no seamstress to call upon.

The Pattern Patter Team on offers a wide variety of patterns for beginners to experienced sewers.

Here is a small sampling of the many Easy-to-Sew patterns offered by our Professional Pattern Sellers. All of the patterns we offer have been checked for completeness so you may shop with confidence.

To see more information about these patterns, please click on the shop name below the collage.

ROW #1 ---

ROW #2 ---

ROW # 3  ---
HeathersSewingStoreWitsEndDesigns; VogueVixens; sandritocat

ROW # 4 ---

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ladies, Kindly Remove Your Hats

It's been decades since movie theaters asked ladies to remove their hats. Hats are lovely and add a special touch to an ensemble.

Hats have been worn since the time of the ancient Egyptians. For hundreds of years, a modest woman would cover her head. However, over the decades, the wearing of hats has diminished. There are still many religious groups whose female members wear head coverings. The come-as-you-are to church philosophy is not embraced by all and ladies continue to wear "church clothes" which includes a hat. Members of royalty also wear hats in public. Hats are seemingly mandatory at horse races such as the Kentucky Derby and Steeplechase.

Princess Diana's turban from the 1980s.

Some of the most extravagant hats are from the Edwardian era. Women's hats became a statement of wealth and influence in the highly structured society of that time. Fortunes were paid for exotic dyed feathered hats. For a time entire stuffed birds were used to adorn hats.

Macy's ad, 1909

                                                        ca. 1910 photos

The Roaring Twenties arrived and with it short hair. Ladies needed a hat which would cover their head and look well with a bobbed cut.

Catalog ads for 1920s hats.

By the 1930s and 1940s, hats had moved on from the cloche and various styles flourished.
Spring 1942: Lilly Dache hat is on the left; Hattie Carnegie hat is on the right.

Schiaparelli hats, ca. 1940s

John Frederics Silk & Straw

Chanel, 1930

Lilly Dache Headpieces

Lilly Dache
Stetsons for her, ca. 1940s.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, hats became even more diverse. Wide brims and pillboxes
 were popular.  Smaller hats with netting continued to be worn.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Dior, 1954


The 1960s!


Here are some examples of avant garde head-wear     

Alexander McQueen
Armani, 2014

Issey Miyake


The Pattern Patter team offers a wide variety of hat patterns for children and adults. Here is just a small sampling. Visit our team members' shops to see more lovely hat patterns, ranging from vintage to modern to retro.  The shop names are underneath the collages - just click on the name for more information about a specific hat pattern.

In addition, the Pattern Patter Team has a number of boards on Pinterest. Please follow us - members add patterns  and pictures daily. 

Row #1 --- kinseysue;  sandritocat;  TabbysVintageShop
Row #2 --- PurplePlaidPenguin;  ThePatternSourceCherryCorners

Here's a handy reference chart of hat styles.