Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cocktails and Peplums

One of the things I enjoy doing when I'm relaxing at home on the couch at night in front of the TV is wade through the oodles of 1940s and 1950s vintage goodies on Etsy on my iPad.  You see, my husband (love him) is a remote hog, so I don't get a look in on the programs we watch.  Thank goodness he doesn't watch sports constantly!

Anyway, one night I found this fabulous pattern, in my size!!!

And I knew immediately that I had the perfect fabric, but still I hesitated, and it was only after some (minimal) arm twisting when I posted the picture on my facebook page that I purchased it.

I was drawn to the dress on the right - version 2 with the double peplum - and the perfect fabric in my stash was this vintage rayon that I purchased on Etsy some time back.

Its covered in martini glasses!!!

I was so excited about this project that it jumped the queue of all my other projects and I just had to sew it next.

My first few stitches on my sewing machine were not happy ones however.  It kept jamming and it was tearing holes in the fabric... eek!!!  I did some investigating, and:

*cough* maintenance is not my strong point *cough*

I got this much fluff and yuck out of and around the bobbin casing:


That seemed to solve my problem, and I sewed up the bodice with no more jamming.  Its actually a fabulous, easy to sew design!

Here is a close up of the gathers in the V neck:

I am debating removing some of the fullness at the waist, but thats just going off how it looks on my headless helper, I haven't measured it yet.

The next job was working on the peplum pieces, as they are sewn into the right side skirt seam.  This involved a new skill for me - ROLLED HEMS!

I actually found a brilliant Youtube video that explained it really well (you can find it here).  Its long but very informative.  Here is my short, non-video version.

1. Insert a needle about 1/8" from the edge, fold the fabric over, and make the pattern shown in the picture below starting with a stitch over the fold down to the edge of the fold, take a teenie stitch through the underneath fabric only, then go back up to the fold, insert your needle and take a big stitch so the thread goes in between the two layers.  Repeat ad nauseam.

I've outlined the thread path in pretty colours.  GREEN is the stitches you can see, YELLOW are the little teenie stitches you can see from the other side of the fabric, and PURPLE are long stitches in between the two layers.

2.  Once you have a bunch of stitches done (I was working to about 15) you tug on the thread and it all rolls up neatly, like magic!!

3.  I then ran the back of my needle under the roll to neaten everything up:

Its a tad blurry, sorry.

I found it handy to do this on a pillow on my lap, because I then put in a pin at the second to last stitch to secure the fabric to the pillow before I did my next 15 stitches.

It was actually quite a relaxing process, and a good repetitive stitch that was perfect to do in front of some trash TV (I love trash TV)

And that's as far as I've gotten on this one.  I hope to have it finished to wear to a sewing group meet-up that I'm going to on the 3rd of May.  I figured I should wear something that I've created.

So, what's you're favourite TV show to hand-sew or do other chores in front of?

Mine is anything relating to girls trying on wedding dresses, Don't Tell The Bride - where the boys plan the weddings in 4 weeks without any help or contact from the girls, the UK version of Come Dine With Me - the announcer is hilarious, and How Do I Look - where people with truly tragic and misguided fashion are convinced to undergo a makeover.



  1. I've been wanting to learn how to do rolled hems, thanks! I've just bought some wonderful silk fabric that was so pricey that I bought just enough to make a scarf with it but it is glorious. Your frock is looking fabulous.

    1. Well the video on YouTube that I linked to is actually a woman doing a rolled hem for a silk scarf - perfect for you!!!

  2. I'm doing the same obsessive scanning of patterns on Etsy in the evening while my husband hogs the remote. I'm in the northeast of the U.S. which basically means we're doing the same thing on opposite ends of the earth.

  3. thanks for the detailed explanation of the rolled hem...I will try it. Love your fabric for that dress, cant wait to see it finished.

    1. Dorn, it was so much easier than I thought it would be! And pulling the thread to create the roll was like magic - it was almost fun!! :)

  4. I LOVE the neckline of this dress pattern! Can't wait so see the finished dress.

    I used to made tons of manually rolled hems when I was a student. I had an obsession for silk scarfs made by a rather famous Swiss silk designer, but of course couldn't afford the finished scarfs, so I bought their discounted unfinished fabrics with minor flaws or remnants and rolled them myself. While I was in the train. Or in front of the TV. Sooo relaxing, and I was really fast.
    Today I have a presser foot to make rolled hems with my machine, but they never turn out as neatly and "rolled" as by hand. So I seldom use it, and certainly not on silky or "drapey" fabrics, as with those it's really worth doing it manually.

    I had a different technique, but next time I will try yours!

    1. I will definitely be using this technique again on other drapey fabrics. I'm sure I can get a foot for my machine too, but I'm enjoying hand sewing at the moment, and I love learning new skills!

  5. I love doing my hand sewing to NCIS re-runs (don't know if you get it - crime procedural surrounding the US Navy. Stars the lovely Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly and my favourite goth scientist Pauly Perrette) and old movies.

  6. Oh my, this pattern and your fabric are just so cute!! I like to watch the Big Bang theroy while hand-sewing^^

    1. Big Bang Theory is such a well written show - I love that one too!

  7. Great pattern, can't wait to see the finished dress!
    My favourite sewing shows are Mad Men, Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife :)
    Jenny xox

  8. this is going to be gorgeous. love the neat rolled hem trick!

  9. This will be a lovely dress. I look forward to seeing the finished result.
    Many an hour can be spent drooling on etsy and ebay....
    Thank you for showing how you've done a rolled hem. I have tried this straight away on a length of navy polka dot fabric I was recently given just long enough for a scarf. Brilliant! So I'm very happy!

    1. Yay Claire! I'm glad it worked for you. Its so easy isn't it!!